In 2022, for the first time, Quebec posted more jobs than before the COVID pandemic.
The catch-up is completed and even exceeded, statistically speaking. In 2022, Quebec had 4,403,100 jobs compared to 4,330,700 jobs in 2019, the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ) indicated on Wednesday in its Labor market report for 2022.
” It’s new. This is the first year where we can really say that we have come out of the pre-pandemic or the pandemic, ”said Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve, labor statistics analyst at the ISQ, in an interview.
Seven out of 10 jobs added in 2022 are full-time jobs. And job creation is obviously not uniform.
“Of course, job creation has taken place in different industries, different sectors. The two industries that benefited from greater growth in 2022 were accommodation and food services, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation, which had been strongly affected by the pandemic,” said Mr. Cloutier Villeneuve.
The flip side is that there are also more vacancies.
In 2022, the number of these vacant positions increased by 25%, or 48,700 more, to reach 241,700 (an average for the first nine months), indicates the Institute of Statistics of Quebec.
Why is the number of vacancies still growing? Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve puts forward two factors: economic growth and retirements.
“We have a very strong economy, since we created 130,000 jobs in 2022 and we still have 242,000 vacant positions. So the economy really has to be productive,” he notes.
The accommodation and food service industries, as well as the health care and social assistance industries are particularly affected by this phenomenon of job vacancies.
In the area of accommodation and catering, “this is where there are the most vacancies,” underlines Mr. Cloutier-Villeneuve. “So we have created (jobs), but it’s not enough for the demand. »
As for health care, “it’s a sector that is under pressure, in terms of demand, and which presents working conditions that are not always easy,” he explains.
The Labor Market Report contains another surprise: the average hourly wage is approaching $31. It just hit $30.96. The increase is significant, since it was $29.27 per hour the previous year.
“This is another exceptional year in terms of salary growth,” said Mr. Cloutier-Villeneuve.
In fact, average hourly earnings increased by 5.8%, while the Consumer Price Index rose by 6.7%.
Mr. Cloutier-Villeneuve, however, urges caution before concluding in all directions that the increase in wages has not kept up with inflation, as we often hear.
He first points out that the situation varies considerably from one industry to another. In public administration, for example, the increase is 2.6%, while in professional, scientific and technical services, it is 9.8%.
Then, he recalls that when a salary is low, a rise of a high percentage can impress, but that does not mean that this low-income worker can more easily face the high price of food and goods.
“Purchasing power is linked to the level of remuneration. If a group has low wages and high income growth, it’s not the same as a group that has high wages and low (income) growth,” he recalls.