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Study: Labour market impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous people, March to August 2020

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Released: 2020-11-02

A new study provides insights on the labour market impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous people in Canada, in the six-month period that followed the start of the pandemic. It uses data from the Labour Force Survey to report on trends in employment, unemployment and labour force participation among Indigenous people living off reserve in the provinces.

While Indigenous and non-Indigenous people were initially similarly impacted by employment declines and rising unemployment, labour market conditions have since been more challenging among Indigenous people.

From the three months ending in February to the three months ending in May, the unemployment rate among Indigenous people living off reserve in the provinces increased by 6.6 percentage points, to 16.6%. Among non-Indigenous people, it increased by 6.2 percentage points, to 11.7%.

However, in the three-month period ending in August, while the unemployment rate among non-Indigenous people declined to 11.2%, it was little changed among Indigenous people, at 16.8%.

Moreover, compared with Indigenous men, employment and unemployment levels among Indigenous women, six months into the pandemic, remained further from their pre-pandemic levels. In the three months ending in August, the number of employed Indigenous women living off reserve in the provinces had fallen to 88.4% of its level recorded in the three months ending in February. In comparison, that proportion was 96.5% among Indigenous men.

The study also highlights the challenges faced by Indigenous youth in the summer job market of 2020. The unemployment rate among Indigenous youth aged 15 to 24 years living off reserve in the provinces was 26.0% in the three months ending in August, up 11.3 percentage points compared with the corresponding period in 2019.


The study "Labour market impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous people: March to August 2020" is now available as part of the series StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada (Catalogue number45280001).

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