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The Old Port of Montreal is seen through an empty parking garage in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Friday, March 27, 2020. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he’s putting Quebec “on pause” to limit the coronavirus outbreak and stem physical contact. Photographer: Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg

Canada adds 418,500 jobs, recouping 55% of COVID losses

The Old Port of Montreal is seen through an empty parking garage in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Friday, March 27, 2020. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he’s putting Quebec “on pause” to limit the coronavirus outbreak and stem physical contact. Photographer: Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg

Canada’s economy recorded a third straight month of strong employment gains that have recouped more than half of losses from COVID-19.

A barber wearing a protective mask cuts a customer’s hair at a barber shop in Ottawa, Ontario, , Canada, on Friday, June, 12, 2020. (Photo: BNN Bloomberg)

Employment rose by 418,500 in July, bringing to 1.7 million the number of jobs reclaimed over the past three months. Canada lost three million jobs in March and April at the height of the pandemic. The employment rebound in Canada has outpaced the U.S., which has recovered 42 per cent of its payroll losses.

The employment gains were largely expected as provinces, particularly Ontario, moved to more aggressively reopen their economies, prompting businesses to rehire workers. Economists, however, warn it could still take years before the labor market returns to pre-pandemic levels. A new concern in the July report was that that the bulk of the job gains were part-time.

“The numbers may speak to diminishing returns in re-opening,” said Brett House, deputy chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia. “The relatively easy early gains have been made and adding additional jobs could be harder.”

(Photo courtesy of BNN Bloomberg)

A strong third month was largely expected as provinces, particularly Ontario, moved to more aggressively reopen their economies, prompting businesses to rehire workers. Economists, however, have warned it could still take years before the labor market returns to pre-pandemic levels.

July’s gains were mostly part-time, with 343,500 added in July, versus 73,200 full-time positions.

Canada lost 3 million jobs in March and April at the height of the pandemic.

— Bloomberg