Saskatchewan was the only province in the West and one of only two in Canada to create new job in April as the province’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in the country, in a tie with Quebec at 6.6 per cent
As a comparison, British Columbia's economy shed 43,100 jobs in April, the first decrease since substantial employment losses in March and April 2020, to increase the unemployment rate to 7.1 per cent.
Alberta experienced a net loss of 12,600 jobs in April from a month earlier to share the highest unemployment in Canada, at 9 per cent, equal to Ontario. Manitoba shed 3,200 positions and posted an April jobless rate of 7.4 per cent.
The national unemployment rate is now 8.1 per cent, with the loss of 207,000 jobs in April compared to a month earlier, according to Statistics Canada.
Nearly half of those losses affected youth: employment among Canadians aged 15 to 24 fell by 101,000 (-4.2 per cent), with losses concentrated in B.C. and Ontario.
Both full-time (-129,000) and part-time (-78,000) job losses contributed to the decline. Employment fell in industries exposed to provincial health restrictions, including retail trade, accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation.
The contraction in national employment follows the addition of 562,000 jobs over the February and March. New Brunswick was the only other province, aside from Saskatchewan, to see job creation in April from March.
Canada's employment is now 2.6 per cent below its pre-pandemic level, according to Sri Thanabalasingam, senior economist with TD Economics.
"The Canadian labour market took a tumble in April due to a tightening public health measures imposed in the month across much of the country. April's losses reversed a significant share of the robust job gains seen in February and March," he wrote in a note to investors.
"Also notable in today's release was a decline in total hours worked, indicating a possible reversal in the overall economic recovery in April," he added. Total hours worked fell 2.7 per cent on a monthly basis, driven by declines in restriction-exposed industries, such as accommodation and food services, retail trade and educational services.
"With restrictions remaining in place across the country, Canada's labour market recovery will probably not fully course correct in May. The snapback could occur in June however, as the vaccination rollout ramps up, and caseloads gradually decline in large parts of the country."
One hundred thousand more Canadians reported working from home last month compared with March, for a total of 5.1 million.
The number of long-term unemployed Canadians – those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more – rose to 486,000.
"As in prior waves of virus spread, employment will rebound once containment measures can be eased," wrote RBC Economics senior economist Nathan Janzen in a market update.