Following months of steady job growth in Canada, there was a sizeable drop in employment in October compared to the previous month.

According to Statistics Canada, just 84,000 jobs were added in October -- an increase of 0.5% -- after growing by an average of 2.7% per month since May. In September, there were 378,000 jobs added, however, the unemployment rate reached 8.9% in October, marking little change from the previous month.

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The latest labour force survey from StatsCan revealed that employment increases in several industries were partially offset by a decrease of 48,000 in the accommodation and food services industry, largely in Quebec.

The industries that contributed the most to October's growth included real estate, construction, finance, insurance, rental and leasing, and 'other services.'

In October, the employment increase was concentrated in full-time work which saw a 69,000 job increase. But the number of people working part-time was unchanged. However, for the first time, self-employment increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing 1.2% -- with an addition of 33,000 jobs in October.

On a year-over-year basis, full-time employment was down 3.1%, compared with a decrease of 3.4% for part-time work.

According to the latest data, employment increased in five provinces in October -- Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island -- and held steady in the rest.

Employment levels were closest to their pre-COVID February levels in Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.5%), Manitoba (-2.1%), and New Brunswick (-2.3%). However, Ontario and Alberta remain the provinces furthest from reaching their pre-COVID employment levels, which are down -3.8% and -4.4%, respectively.

Consistent with the re-introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in many regions of central Canada, the pace of employment growth slowed in Ontario while no gains were recorded in Quebec.

Here in Ontario, employment increased by 0.4% after adding 31,000 jobs, with all of the growth in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto (+41,000; +1.2%).

In both the province and in Toronto, the pace of growth was slower than in recent months, after new capacity limits were introduced for restaurants and some other businesses in Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa on October 2.

These regions then moved into "modified Stage 2" on October 10, which required some businesses to close, including many recreational and cultural facilities, as well as indoor dining services.