What they face is very different from the pre-pandemic labour market, says Carolyn Levy of Randstad Canada.
At the beginning of the year, the country’s unemployment rate was hovering around 5.5 per cent, close to a record low. That was after the jobless rate had kept firmly under six per cent for all of 2019.
“It was a job-seekers’ market for a couple of years,” Levy says.
Now things have “really changed,” she adds.
Unemployment stood at an all-time high of 13.7 per cent in May, according to the latest available data from Statistics Canada. And that figure doesn’t come close to capturing the full impact of the pandemic on the labour market, economists warn.
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University of Calgary professor Trevor Tombe, for example, put the effective jobless rate in May at 27.6 per cent, an estimate that accounts for those who were formally employed but working zero hours and unemployed people who weren’t actively looking for a job.
But the May labour market report also showed a gain of nearly 290,000 jobs, as businesses gradually reopened across Canada.
Indeed Canada said the trend in total job postings on its site was 41 per cent below last year’s pace as of June 12 compared to 43 per cent below year-ago levels the previous week and 48 per cent the previous month.
While hiring remains “subdued,” the rebound has started, with the pace of the recovery in total postings improving especially since mid-May, according to Indeed economist Brendon Bernard.
But some sectors are bouncing back faster than others.
Confidence among workers and jobseekers in manufacturing and construction, for example, has “really taken off,” as factories and building sites begin to reopen across the country, says LinkedIn news editor Riva Gold.
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Meanwhile, the demand for front-line workers in both the health-care and retail sectors is likely to remain elevated for as long as parts of the economy remain in lockdown, Gold says.
Parts of the retail industry have been devastated by the effects of the health emergency. But large retailers like Save-On-Foods, Walmart Canada and Dollarama announced plans to ramp up hiring in the early stages of the pandemic in order to meet a surge in demand for consumers stocking up on food, toilet paper and other essentials.
Dollarama says it has hired “thousands of employees” since the beginning of the pandemic and is still adding jobs. “We continue to hire across Canada in the normal course of business and as our store network grows,” the company said in a statement to Global News.
Metro is also still taking on new recruits, with an emphasis on roles that are necessary to serve customers in stores and pharmacies, according to the company’s website.
Cleaners are another category for which the pandemic has created an increased need, says Randstad’s Levy.
In addition to stores and pharmacies, gyms are among the businesses growing their cleaning staff, Levy says. And those tend to be permanent positions, reflecting employers’ uncertainty about how long the current situation will last, she adds.
Also in high demand are those working in customer support, according to Randstad.
“Trust is a big issue,” when consumers are buying remotely, Levy says.
Online business has fuelled the need for more people answering phones, emails and social media queries to make sure that customers feel “heard and supported,” she adds.
The e-commerce surge tied to the pandemic has pushed online sales to a record-high of nearly 10 per cent of the total retail market, according to Statistics Canada.
This is also creating new demand for warehouse support and drivers, according to Levy.
Job postings for loading and stocking roles such as forklift operator and positions in shipping and receiving have seen an uptick in recent weeks, Bernard says.
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And more business moving online as storefronts closed likely also created a need for tech upgrades and the software developers able to implement them, Bernard says.
In general, the IT services sector has withstood the slump well, data shows.
Worker sentiment in the industry has remained at “fairly steady, high levels” throughout the pandemic both in terms of job security and career outlook, according to LinkedIn’s Gold.
“There is still a talent shortage in that space,” Levy says.
Tech companies have continued to hire throughout the lockdown.
Video game developer Ubisoft, for example, has more than 100 openings in Montreal.
And workplace messaging platform Slack told Global News it’s currently looking to fill 11 positions for its Toronto and Vancouver offices, although it recently announced most employees will have the option to work remotely on a permanent basis, if they wish.
While the company said the pandemic hasn’t changed its short-term hiring plans in Canada, there’s little doubt the future looks bright from where Slack is sitting.
The company saw 50 per cent revenue growth year-over-year for the quarter ended April 30 as the shift to remote work increased demand for online platforms that enable employees to stay connected and work in teams.
Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield has called the results “phenomenal.”
“We believe the long-term impact the three months and counting of working from home will have on the way we work is of generational magnitude,” he added.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Uber getting into grocery delivery business in Canada – CBC.ca
Uber Technologies Inc. is getting into the grocery delivery business and is using some Canadian cities to help it launch the venture.
The San Francisco-based tech giant said Tuesday that users in Montreal and Toronto can now order groceries through its Uber and Uber Eats apps.
“They’ll be able to place orders from local merchants and receive them in as little as one to two hours,” Daniel Danker, who runs Uber’s product team, told reporters.
A demonstration of the new service showed thousands of items available from retailers including Walmart, Metro, Rexall, Costco, Longos, Pet Valu and Well.ca.
The company’s foray into the grocery sector comes after Uber advertised in November 2018 that it was hiring a head of grocery product in Toronto.
The company remained secretive about the role, but a year later, Uber’s potential interest in a grocery service was a hot topic again when it announced it was acquiring a majority stake in Chilean grocery delivery startup Cornershop.
The deal was held up by a Mexican Competition Authority investigation, but is supposed to close in the coming days.
Competition in grocery delivery market
Cornershop will serve as Uber’s partner in the grocery delivery venture, which will launch in more than a dozen Latin American cities alongside the Canadian markets.
Uber faces stiff competition with its new service. Amazon.com Inc. and Instacart are already going head-to-head with supermarket brands like Walmart and Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Uber believes it can edge out some of the competition because it sees groceries as a natural extension of its booming food delivery service and a way for the company to become a one-stop shop for every meal.
Grocery delivery has only become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic because more Canadians have transitioned to work from home and Uber’s ride-hailing business is still in “recovery mode,” according to Danker.
“I think this would have made a lot sense in a pre-COVID world, but our world has just fundamentally changed and so this represents even more of a huge responsibility for us,” Danker said.
Federal-provincial co-ordination might have prevented COVID-19 outbreak, says premier – CBC.ca
An outbreak of COVID-19 in the Maritimes on the weekend might have been avoided if Canada Border Services had better communication with the provinces, says P.E.I. Premier Dennis King.
The outbreak, including four out of five new cases on P.E.I. and one in Nova Scotia, started with a man travelling from the U.S. to Canada on a student visa. The man was reportedly planning to study on P.E.I. but was turned away at Confederation Bridge because he did not have pre-approval.
As it turned out, the man did have COVID-19. He spread it to a P.E.I. man he met with in Nova Scotia, and the Island man spread it to three other people back on P.E.I.
Speaking on CBC’s Island Morning Tuesday, King said while he doesn’t have the specifics of this case, it is likely the man would not have been admitted to the province for study at this time, despite having a student visa allowing him to study in Canada.
“We need to have a greater, in-synch protocol in place between the border services and the provincial jurisdictions,” said King.
“When an individual crosses the international border, such as into Toronto, are border agents asking them if your final destination is X, have you been in touch with that jurisdiction to make sure all of your protocols are met. What we’re trying to determine now is, is that question being asked.”
King noted that P.E.I. has turned away dozens of travellers at Confederation Bridge for not having documentation.
Governments are still working on putting in place systems so that border controls can work efficiently and effectively, King said.
Bubble still open
The new cases in the Maritimes came on the same weekend as freedom of movement around Atlantic Canada.
With the opening of the Atlantic bubble, residents of the four eastern provinces can move around the region without having to self-isolate. Border controls between the provinces remain in place.
Officials on P.E.I. have emphasized that this outbreak is in no way connected to the Atlantic bubble, and King said he is not at this time considering closing it.
P.E.I.’s contact tracing system was tested by this outbreak and it worked very well, he said.
“In this particular case I’m very, very pleased and proud of the public health officials and how they’ve undertaken their jobs,” said King.
He said he would only consider closing the bubble if an outbreak caused a strain on either the contact tracing system or the health system.
But he emphasized he is ready to shut the bubble down, and do it quickly, to protect the health of Islanders.
More from CBC P.E.I.
Canada adds 288 new coronavirus cases as curve continues to flatten – Globalnews.ca
The number was nearly identical to the totals recorded for Saturday and Sunday. Many provinces waited until Monday to report those numbers, taking a weekend break from daily updates.
Nine more deaths were reported Monday as well, three of them in Quebec — marking the lowest death toll for the province since April 2. The remaining six were in British Columbia, representing a cumulative total since Friday. One of the deaths occurred in June, but has only now been attributed to COVID-19.
Ontario also reported no new deaths Monday for the first time since the end of March.
Canada has now seen 105,915 lab-confirmed cases, along with 8,693 deaths. A total of 69,570 cases have since recovered.
Although it didn’t see any new deaths, Ontario still reported 154 new coronavirus cases Monday, and Quebec saw 74 more cases.
Nova Scotia reported one new case, the only Atlantic province to do so Monday.
Saskatchewan saw three more cases over the past 24 hours, while Manitoba stayed clear of new infections. Alberta added 49 new cases, and British Columbia reported seven.
While the Yukon and Northwest Territories haven’t reported any new cases for over two months now, Nunavut is awaiting confirmation of its first-ever presumptive case, which was reported Thursday.
All provinces and territories are in the midst of slowly reopening their economies after weeks of shutdowns at the height of the pandemic, which federal modelling suggests remains on a downward trajectory.
Daily totals of new cases have been hovering around 300 for over a week, after spiking past 400 in late June.
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Worldwide, the novel coronavirus pandemic has grown to over 11.5 million confirmed cases and has killed at least 536,000 people, according to public health data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the United States, confirmed cases are closing in on three million as cases continue to surge in several states. The country has been reporting an average of 50,000 new cases daily since the end of June.
Researchers and public health officials around the world say the true number of infections is likely far higher due to limitations in testing.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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