Payroll employment numbers turned positive in May, according to Statistics Canada, but are still well off pre-Covid numbers.
StatsCan’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) data showed an employment increase of 1.8% in May as more people returned to work following the easing of lockdown restrictions in certain provinces, such as British Columbia.
But the number of people who were unpaid between May 10 and 16, 2020 — the LFS reference week — and who had already been absent from work for more than four weeks was approximately 967,000 higher than in February.
As well, the number of Canadians who received pay from their employer decreased by 4.1% in May from April, according to StatsCan’s Survey of Employment Payrolls and Hours.
This decline came on the heels of payroll decreases in March and April, and brought total payroll employment losses since February to 3.4 million, a drop of 19.9%.
Total weekly payroll (including overtime) for all employees declined by 1.8% month-over-month, according to StatsCan. It was the third consecutive monthly decline since February.
On a positive note, average weekly earnings rose 2% in May to $1,139.
Those who were working May put in fewer hours. According to StatsCan, total hours worked declined month-over-month in May by 2%.
The average weekly hours, however, increased that same month to 34.1 hours per week.