Employment report from the Institut du Québec | Unemployment rate jumps among permanent immigrants

The slowdown in the Quebec economy has had significant repercussions on permanent immigrants, with more of them finding themselves unemployed – a finding deemed “worrying” by the Institut du Québec (IDQ), since it reverses the positive trend of recent years.

With the creation of 67,000 positions in Quebec last year, there has been no relaxation observed in the labor market, notes the non-profit organization in its most recent employment report, published this Wednesday. The slowdown in the economy mainly contributed to reducing the number of vacant positions, which fell from 211,000 to 149,000.

The portrait nevertheless includes a few yellow lights. The positions created were generally “of lower quality”. In addition, immigrants “seem to have borne the brunt of the increase in the unemployment rate”.

“Historically, in periods of economic slowdown, permanent immigrants are more vulnerable,” emphasizes Emna Braham, general director of the IDQ. The reason why we are more worried: since 2016, we have seen an improvement in their integration into the labor market. We assumed a structural improvement. The numbers are worrying. »

Last December, the unemployment rate for this category of workers reached 7.5%, compared to 4.7% for the same period in 2022.

Of the 49,000 unemployed who were added to Quebec in the last year, 27,000 were permanent immigrants and 13,000 were temporary immigrants, notes the IDQ.

In comparison, the unemployment rate among “people born in Canada” and residing in the province remained relatively stable, at 3.7%. The disparity with permanent immigrants is therefore notable. Mme Braham and his team plan to keep an eye on this situation in 2024. It is difficult to determine precisely the reasons behind this rise in unemployment among this category of workers.


Emna Braham, general director of the Institut du Québec

“There were sectors, such as finance, insurance and real estate, which showed declines last year,” underlines the general director of the Institute. Were permanent immigrants overrepresented in these (niches)? »

Part-time catch-up

It is thanks to part-time positions that the job market ended 2023 on a positive note. While the number of part-time jobs jumped by 69,900, a contraction of 3,200 full-time positions was noted. According to Mme Braham, the catch-up observed in catering as well as accommodation – two sectors affected by health restrictions – partly explains this situation.


According to Emna Braham, the catch-up observed in the catering and accommodation sectors partly explains the increase in the number of part-time jobs.

The IDQ’s results include good news for workers. Despite inflationary surges, the average hourly wage was higher last December ($33.02) compared to 2019 ($31.87).

“Gramping inflation has not eaten away everything,” says Mme Braham.

The IDQ expects the unemployment rate to hover between 5 and 6% this year.

An economic downturn generally results in layoffs and layoffs. However, in a context where labor remains difficult to find, many employers may want to keep their employees as long as possible.

In the job market, this trend is already being observed among employers, says Julie Lajoie, organizational development consultant and trainer at Joie Conseils.

“More and more companies have stopped seeing labor as an expense, but as something in which you can invest and reap benefits,” explains the expert. What this demonstrates is that a growing number of managers realize the real value of their employees on the ground. »

The IDQ also questions the effects of the economic slowdown on temporary residents. Temporary immigration spurred growth in the working-age population last year. Often “forced to play a reserve role” on the labor market, these temporary workers often prove to be “a vulnerable clientele”, who cannot remain without work for long periods, underlines the Institute.

Some figures on employment in Quebec


The finance, insurance and real estate sectors were among those to bear the brunt of the slowdown last year. At the end of December, they showed a combined decline of 13,000 positions compared to the same period in 2022. Among the publicized cuts, there was that of 400 positions at Desjardins Group last October.


Hit hard by pandemic lockdowns, accommodation and catering recovered last year with gains totaling 19,000 jobs. Everything indicates that the improvement will be short-lived in the catering sector, with the closures recently observed.

– 13,000

Montreal performed poorly in 2023 on the job market, according to the Institute. Some 13,000 jobs evaporated last year. It is the neighboring regions such as Montérégie (35%), the Laurentides (9%) and Laval (7%) which have recorded gains.


This is the rank occupied by Quebec nationally in terms of job creation in 2023, with growth of 1.5%. The province is doing slightly better than Ontario, where employment grew by 1.4% last year.

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  • 4.7%
    Unemployment rate in Quebec in December 2023

    source: Quebec institute

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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