By Jack Mintz, July 12, 2022
Where are all the workers? Before March 2020 we had no shortages of airport baggage-handlers, restaurant servers, emergency-room nurses or passport custom agents. Now there are endless stories of not enough workers in almost all sectors of the economy.
As Statistics Canada reported June 24th, about one million jobs were vacant in April, 130,000 more than last December. Shortages are running at 5.8 per cent of payroll employees (excluding the self-employed). They are especially acute in accommodation and food services (at 11.9 per cent of employment in that sector), arts and entertainment (8.2 per cent), administrative support, waste management and remediation services (7.5 per cent) and the catch-all “other” services (7.5 per cent). Only in utilities and public administration are vacancy rates relatively low (at 1.8 and 2.9 per cent, respectively).
In February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, 1.16 million Canadians were unemployed. In May 2022, despite the huge number of jobs available, unemployment was at 1.06 million, lower by only 100,000. Why aren’t more people working?