Economic and Social Reports

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January 2021

Spotlight on data and research

COVID-19: New data and analysis for monitoring Canada’s economic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy in extraordinary ways. Statistics Canada has developed new information sources to measure its impacts on businesses and workers.

This article highlights the latest findings from new datasets on monthly business openings and closures and on businesses conditions, as well as supplementary analysis from the Labour Force Survey on the long-term unemployed.

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Gender differences in early career job mobility and wage growth in Canada

Despite the great strides women have made in the labour market over the past decades, gender-based wage disparity persists. The results of this article suggest early job mobility could be a factor.

Among young workers aged 25 to 34 in 2005, women were less likely than men to experience a permanent job separation – leaving their job voluntary or due to a dismissal, restructuring, or closure – and more likely than men to have a temporary job separation during the first ten years of their career.

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Impact of COVID-19 on parental expectations, savings intentions and other plans to financially support children’s postsecondary education

COVID-19 had little impact on the expectations of parents regarding their children’s educational attainment. However, there was a notable change in how parents plan to help their children finance their postsecondary education.

For example, 86% of children can expect free room and board or the use of a car (up from 66% prior to the lockdown), and 48% can expect help with paying off student loans (up from 25% prior to the lockdown).

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Research articles

The changing nature of work in Canada amid recent advances in automation technology

While automation has changed the nature of work in Canada over the past few decades, this change was very gradual, and did not accelerate with the very recent developments in artificial intelligence.

The results of this study reveal that the share of Canadians working in managerial, professional and technical occupations increased from 23.8% in 1987 to 31.2% in 2018, while the share employed in service occupations increased more moderately from 19.2% to 21.8% over the same timeframe. Jobs in both of these occupational groups are generally difficult to automate.

Meanwhile, the share of workers employed in production, craft, repair and operative occupations (more automatable tasks) went from 29.7% in 1987 to 22.2% in 2018, while the share employed in sales, clerical and administrative support occupations also fell over the period (from 27.3% in 1987 to 24.9% in 2018). These jobs are generally more amenable to automation.

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How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the hours worked in Canada? An analysis by industry, province, and firm size

In April 2020, the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Canadian workers as a whole reduced their hours worked by as much as 25% compared to the same month in previous years.

The services sector, particularly Arts, entertainment and recreation and Accommodation and food services, was the most impacted with a maximum reduction of hours worked at 65% of its baseline.

The provinces with the largest reduction were Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, where at least nine industries out of 19 had a maximum reduction in hours worked representing at least 30% of their baseline.

Firms with less than 20 employees had a maximum reduction in hours worked representing 41% of their baseline in April. This compares to 29%, 17%, and 11% of the baseline hours worked for firms with 20 to 99 employees, 100 to 500 employees, and with more than 500 employees, respectively.

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