A Closer Look

COVID in Canada – The impact on manufacturing

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting measures to prevent its spread (social distancing, travel restrictions, school and business closures) have led to unprecedented job loss and economic upheaval across Canada. Data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) confirm that the economic impact of this health crisis affects different sectors in unique ways. Previous LMI Insight Reports have focused on the COVID-19 impacts on the tourism and oil and gas sectors.

This LMI Insight Report focuses on the manufacturing sector (see Box 1), which, prior to the pandemic, already faced workforce shortages and cost-control concerns. As the health crisis began to disrupt supply chains and slow trade, unprecedented job losses created much uncertainty about the future. Now, as restrictions start to lift and the economy reopens, manufacturing firms need quality labour market information (LMI) to develop recovery plans and processes, including identifying available resources and recruiting skilled workers. This LMI will also help the sector address the challenges that preceded the crisis, which remain to be solved.

Key Findings

  • Between February and April 2020, Canada’s manufacturing sector lost over 280,000 jobs — a 17% drop in employment compared to 16% Canada-wide.
  • May and June data from the Labour Force Survey show a rebound since April’s steep decline, with nearly half of manufacturing jobs returning. Nevertheless, the situation remains precarious.
  • As the Canadian economy re-opens, a full recovery will depend on the ability of manufacturers to fulfill backlogged and incoming orders, which means securing both supply chains and distribution channels.
  • Even before the pandemic, fulfilling orders was a concern for many businesses, as skills shortages and rising costs kept production levels below capacity. New challenges and priorities have emerged, such as staff and customer safety and operational upkeep, compounding previous concerns.
  • Access to quality labour market information is critical to help education providers and job seekers identify in-demand skills and other work requirements. As firms shift production and supply chain processes, these requirements will also change.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ LMI Insight Report no. 34, Sectors at Risk: The Impact of COVID-19 on Canadian Manufacturing – LMIC-CIMT

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