Lower COVID cases, re-opening optimism spur employment rise in May

May marks four straight months of job gains for the Saskatoon Region and five months of positive gains for Saskatchewan. This strength in employment stems from lessening restrictions and optimism surrounding the province’s re-opening plan. Business and consumer confidence continued to rise in May, according to both the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) and the Conference Board of Canada, with businesses starting to rehire and many re-entering the labour force.


The Saskatoon CMA recovered 1,900 jobs in May. Labour market recovery rose to 89.1% of jobs that were lost during March and April 2020, up from 80.1% in April of this year. The unemployment rate trended lower to 7.4%, from 7.7% in April 2021, as a result of more jobs being added than those entering the labour force.


Saskatchewan recovered 4,100 jobs in May, with the unemployment rate trending lower to 6.3%. 2,000 of the jobs regained were full-time positions, while the remaining 2,100 jobs were part-time.

In the goods-producing sector, May employment fell in all areas except for manufacturing. The majority of employment growth came from the services-producing sector, primarily in wholesale and retail trade; information, culture and recreation; transportation and warehousing; and educational services.


COVID-19 cases continues to trend lower across the province, with the University of Saskatchewan’s wastewater study predicting lower COVID-19 levels in Saskatoon in the days to come.

For provinces where restrictions are gradually being lifted, economists are optimistic about June, with hiring expected to increase as patios and seasonal businesses reopen. More robust growth is expected in the second half of the year.

Business and consumer sentiment is expected to continue to rise, especially with the possibility of lifting all provincial gathering and mask restrictions as early as July 11th, prompting businesses that have been closed since the start of the pandemic to re-emerge.

Tyler Nguyen

Manager, Economic Intelligence
(306) 952-2400