Report from the Institut du Québec | The job market remained “robust” in 2023

(Montreal) Despite the slowdown in the economy, the Quebec labor market remained relatively “robust” in 2023, according to the main economic data collected by the Institut du Québec (IDQ).

“A net 67,000 jobs were still created in Quebec (in 2023),” comments the director of the Institut du Québec (IDQ), Emna Braham, in an interview.

“We are no longer at the level of post-pandemic catch-up, but we are still at a level of job creation which is close to what we experienced on the eve of the pandemic, between 2016 and 2019, at times when Quebec’s economy was going well,” she adds.

Despite high inflation, workers on average maintained their purchasing power, according to the IDQ report. Mme Braham says she receives a lot of questions on the subject.

In constant dollars, the average hourly wage was $33.02 in December 2023, compared to $31.87 in December 2019, before the pandemic. “Ultimately, the galloping inflation that we experienced at the end of the pandemic did not entirely eat away the salary gains that workers were able to make. »

The year 2023 marks a pause in the creation of “quality jobs” while the majority of new jobs are part-time. “The trend towards the creation of well-paid jobs observed at the end of the pandemic has faded in 2023,” we read in the report. However, in December, the proportion of well-paid jobs in the overall labor market (48%) remains higher than that observed before the pandemic (45%). »

The economic slowdown caused by rising interest rates has manifested itself in a reduction in job vacancies. The number of vacant positions fell from 211,000 to 149,000 in one year. The unemployment rate also increased slightly, from 4.1% to 4.7% from December 2022 to December 2023.

The labor market situation varies by industry. The health and construction sectors are still experiencing a labor shortage. On the other hand, the finance, insurance and real estate services sector had 13,000 fewer workers at the end of the year.

Rising immigrant unemployment

The increase in the working population, thanks to immigration, has also helped to alleviate the labor shortage. “We see that this labor supply has really increased significantly over the last year, almost 100,000 more people,” explains Braham. This growth has been largely attributable to temporary immigration over the past year. »

The slowdown in economic activity hit permanent immigrants harder, while their unemployment rate rose from 4.7% to 7.5%, again from December 2022 to December 2023. The trend is much less pronounced for people born in Canada. Their unemployment rate increased slightly from 3.5% to 3.7%.

The unemployment rate remains relatively low for permanent immigrants while it exceeded 10% ten years ago. The trend still remains “worrying”, judges Mme Braham.

“What we find concerning is that the trend was really towards a reduction in the gap in unemployment rates between immigrants and the Canadian-born in recent years. But there, we really saw that it was only the unemployment rate of permanent immigrants that increased. »


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