Canada’s economy added 245,800 jobs in August, a fourth-straight month of gains that has recouped almost two thirds of employment losses from the pandemic.

The hiring lowered the jobless rate to 10.2 per cent, from 10.9 per cent in July, and brings the number of jobs recovered since the height of the pandemic to 1.9 million. Canada lost 3 million jobs in March and April. Economists had forecast a 250,000 increase and an unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent in August.

While the initial quick recovery in Canada’s labour market is welcome, economists predict it will fade, with many of those initially displaced by the pandemic already back at work and the economy as open as it can be for now.

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“This is about as good as its going to get for the Canadian labor market this year,” Simon Harvey, an analyst at Monex Europe Ltd, said by phone. “This is the last kind of big labor market employment gain we’re going to see.”

Canada’s currency pared gains after the report and was trading up 0.2 per cent to $1.3106 against its U.S. counterpart at 9:19 a.m. Toronto time. The yield on 10-year government bonds climbed 3 basis points to 0.57 per cent.

The latest numbers capture the reopening of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city and one of the last to ease restrictions due to high COVID-19 counts. Ontario posted 142,000 new jobs last month.

Pandemic Scarring

But without any further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions anytime soon, future jobs reports will be more “representative of the level of scarring that there’s been from the pandemic,” Harvey said.

Of the August gains, 205,800 were in full-time and 40,000 part-time.

The number of employed Canadians working less than half their usual hours because of COVID-19 has dropped to 713,000, from 2.5 million in April.

Service-sector employment increased at a faster pace than goods-producing. Education, accommodation and food services drove the gains in services, while manufacturing led the gains in the goods-producing sector.

--With assistance from Erik Hertzberg.