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Second wave of layoffs looms as COVID cases climb, straining hard-hit industries

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Those job losses would damage an engine of Canada’s recent job growth, as the accommodation and food services sector added 72,000 positions in September, StatsCan said. Another vulnerable sector, information, culture and recreation, added 56,000 jobs. There was also an increase of 68,000 educational jobs as the school year began, which is a pop that may not be repeated in October.

September’s growth put Canada’s workforce within 720,000 jobs of where it was in pre-pandemic February. However, in the months to come, the Bank of Canada and other forecasters anticipate that additional economic gains will be harder fought, coming at a far less rapid rate than the feel-good summer days of declining COVID-19 cases and soaring jobs numbers.

“It will be a long, slow climb to get everybody back to pre-pandemic working hours, particularly in the sectors that are most affected,” Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem warned in a speech on Oct. 8.

It will be a long, slow climb to get everybody back to pre-pandemic working hours, particularly in the sectors that are most affected

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem

For some, the climb could be slower and longer, as the faster-than-expected rebound in overall employment has masked an uneven recovery overall.

Statistics Canada said three-quarters of the gap in employment from pre-February levels is concentrated in four industries: accommodation and restaurants; retail; construction; and transportation and warehousing. Prospects for those sectors are up in the air, suggesting the pace of employment could slow, and may even reverse course, depending on the severity of the second wave.

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