More Canadians are working part-time, but not by choice

The latest jobs numbers show a growing number of Canadians struggling to find full-time work.

What happened: The ‘involuntary’ part-time employment rate — the share of part-time workers who could not find a full-time job or who worked part-time because of poor business conditions — hit 18.2% in May, up nearly three percentage points from the same time last year.

  • Last month, the economy lost 36,000 full-time jobs but added 62,000 part-time positions.
  • Young people have borne the brunt of that trend: the overall employment rate for students aged 20 to 24 fell 2.9% from last year. 

Why it matters: The number of full-time jobs isn’t keeping pace with the rise of Canada’s population, which grew 3.4% over the past year while employment increased by just 2%. That’s forcing more people who could work full-time into lower-paying part-time and gig jobs.

  • This isn’t just a recent blip, either. Since 2020, the population has grown 8.1%, while employment is only up 6.7%. 

Yes, but: High interest rates have been a major factor in keeping hiring in check, and the Bank of Canada began cutting rates last week. Whether that helps drive stronger job growth remains to be seen.