- Florence Jean-Jacobs, Principal Economist
Quebec’s Unemployment Rate Jumps to 4.9% in October
- Quebec lost 22,100 jobs in October after a healthy 38,700 gain in September.
- The unemployment rate shot up from 4.4% to 4.9%.
- The private sector shed 41,200 jobs in October, bringing the six-month net loss to 18,100.
- Full-time employment fell by 34,500, wiping out the previous two months’ gains.
- Year-over-year, hours worked were down 0.7% in Quebec but up nationwide.
- Annual wage growth continued to edge lower, from 4.2% in September to 4.0% in October.
After a surprisingly strong showing in September, the labour market slowed in October.
Manufacturing alone posted 16,300 job losses after adding nearly the same number the month before (table).
The unemployment rate recorded its biggest spike since January 2022 and is almost back to its 2019 average of 5.1%. Quebec now has the second-lowest jobless rate in Canada after Saskatchewan at 4.4%.
Private sector and full-time employment were the biggest weak spots in the report, and slower wage growth was just one more sign that the labour market is softening. Both the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate have been coming down all year—proof that the labour shortage is gradually easing.
Today’s weak jobs print didn’t come as a shock. Amid stalling GDP, waning business confidence and rising insolvencies, higher interest rates appear to be taking a toll on the economy. It remains to be seen how quickly the economy deteriorates. But this first jobs report of the fourth quarter suggests Quebec's economy is slowing as expected.
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