Statistics Canada says the economy added 94,000 jobs in July as public health restrictions continued to be lifted, with the gains coming primarily in Ontario.
The agency says the gains were concentrated in the service sector, with 35,000 jobs added in accommodation and food services.
July employment gains were largely in full-time work, which rose by 83,000 or half a percentage point and occurred in multiple sectors.
The unemployment rate fell to its lowest since March of this year, at 7.5 per cent for July compared with 7.8 per cent in June.
The result left the country about 246,400 jobs, or 1.3 per cent, below pre-pandemic employment levels seen in February 2020.
The number of people considered long-term unemployed was 244,000 higher than before the pandemic and accounted for 27.8 per cent of total unemployment.
CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes says July’s increase continues the pattern begun with the 231,000 jobs added in June and can be considered a strong gain, making up for employment losses incurred during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even so, Mendes says the numbers may reflect labour shortages some employers have been reporting, and gains are likely to keep slowing.