Is the Canadian Job Market Losing Steam?

So, what’s happening to the Canadian Job market? While the labour market remains sturdy, recent indicators suggest a slight softening. Unemployment has gradually increased since May. Notably, Dave McKay, RBC’s CEO, has projected reduced growth and weaker inflation due to elevated interest rates, a decelerating Chinese economy, and various associated risks. Adding to this narrative, a fresh analysis of Statistics Canada data by The Globe and Mail reveals a new trend: Canadians are switching jobs less frequently. In July, the seasonally adjusted job change rate, indicating the proportion of workers retaining employment but transitioning between jobs from one month to the next, stood at 0.4%. This marks the lowest rate since 2020, contrasting with the 2016-2019 average of 0.7%.

Traditionally, a higher job-change rate in the Canadian job market reflects a more robust labour market, where workers possess confidence in their job-switching abilities and frequently negotiate improved wages. The Globe concludes that this downward trajectory in job changes, combined with an uptick in unemployment rates and diminishing job openings, contributes to the mounting evidence of labour market weakening. Nevertheless, this weakening is set against the backdrop of a labour market that remains notably stronger compared to the period before the pandemic.

Geographical variations are evident, with some cities experiencing more job fluidity than others. Vancouver leads in job-hopping, followed by Montreal and Calgary, according to a recent study referenced in Narcity. In contrast, Ottawa stands out for a significant percentage of workers remaining with their current employers, potentially linked to its status as a hub for long-serving federal government employees.

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