Saskatoon unemployment rises in July

Saskatoon labour recovery trends down

The Saskatoon CMA lost 900 jobs in July, with the unemployment rate rising to 7.9%. This increase, from 7.3% in June, was the result of more jobs being lost than the number of people re-entering the labour force. In fact, the labour market recovery fell to 82.0% of jobs that were lost during March and April 2020, down from 86.3% this June.

Province loses mainly part-time positions

Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate also increased – up to 7.0% from 6.7% in June. Most of this change came from part-time positions, which declined by 4,100. Full-time jobs fell by 500 in July.

Sectors see varied changes

Across sectors, provincial job losses were concentrated in wholesale and retail trade (-1,800), educational services (-1,800), accommodation and food services (-1,600) and health care and social assistance (-1,400). Agriculture, utilities, construction and manufacturing saw an increase of 2,600 jobs in total.

Saskatchewan an outlier in Canada

Despite an early reopening compared to other provinces, Saskatchewan has now seen two consecutive months of job losses. Across Canada, Saskatchewan was the only province where employment dropped in July.

Causes of labour shortage unclear

Concerns over a labour shortage across multiple sectors have been brewing, primarily in services-producing sectors. Some report a lack of specialized skilled workers and challenges with those opting to remain on federal support instead of returning to work. Others have been discussing the province’s minimum wage, which is the second lowest in Canada. As industries attempt to attract and retain workers, the Government of Saskatchewan is preparing a $10 million program to address the labour shortage.

Overall outlook promising

Saskatchewan is poised for strong growth in the second half of the year, according to a new report by BMO; however, that growth is forecast to be slower than the national average. The technology and energy sectors will be key for the province’s growth, along with agriculture, although current drought conditions are putting downward pressure on the sector.

Tyler Nguyen

Manager, Economic Intelligence
(306) 952-2400