Immigrants are suffering more than anyone from the economic downturn. Their unemployment rate has jumped in the last year, while it remains almost unchanged for the rest of the Quebec population. Meanwhile, the regions remain on course for growth.
The easier integration of immigrants into the job market each year ended in 2023. They are paying the price for last year’s sluggish economy. The unemployment rate for permanent immigrants rose from 4.7% to 7.5% in one year, while that of the native-born only varied from 3.5% to 3.7%.
However, Quebec added some 67,000 jobs to its inventory in the last year. This growth “compares to what the province has experienced […] on the eve of the pandemic”, according to the Institute of Statistics of Quebec (ISQ), which published an economic study Wednesday morning.
This is because the population of Quebec has also experienced a significant increase – a “demographic boom”, according to the ISQ. Nearly 100,000 new people, almost all newcomers, have swelled the ranks of Quebec workers. Population growth has thus outpaced employment growth. And all things considered, Quebec today has 49,000 more unemployed than last year.
Of these, 27,000 were permanent immigrants, 13,000 were temporary residents, and 9,000 were people born in Canada.
“We are seeing the unemployment rate of permanent workers, selected because they partly respond to the job market in Quebec, increase. That’s a worrying indicator,” explains The duty Emna Braham, general director of the ISQ.
Thus, in December 2023, permanent immigrants represented 31% of the unemployed (compared to 25% in December 2022) and temporary immigrants accounted for 9% of the unemployed (compared to 4% in December 2022).
The big winner regions
Moving to the region could be the way to salvation for the unemployed, the ISQ study suggests, because regions struggling with an acute labor shortage are doing well with ease. The Laurentides, Laval, but also the Capitale-Nationale and Centre-du-Québec display a robust employment rate which counteracts the risks of recession.
The “cushion” of vacant positions was so high in recent years in these regions that the economic downturn was painless, summarizes Emna Braham. “Employers removed job offers before laying off workers. »
Another positive point, wages are regaining strength in the face of sustained inflation, notes Emna Braham. “Wage growth has slowed significantly. On the other hand, when we talk to employers, many of them anticipate that salaries will continue to grow more quickly than before. »
Lower quality jobs
The overall unemployment rate of 4.7% recorded in 2023 remains lower than historical rates in Quebec. This good performance hides a less rosy reality: part-time work.
Willy-nilly, this slow pace occupies an ever-increasing part of the world of work. New jobs in 2023 almost exclusively concern these incomplete schedules.
In fact, last year, around 70,000 part-time positions were opened. On the contrary, the number of full-time positions shrank by nearly 3,000. These two numbers explain the approximately 67,000 new jobs noted above.
Catering, hotels and tourism, strongly affected by the pandemic, are largely responsible for these new jobs. A sign that these industries have returned to normal.
It is difficult to determine whether these trends will continue in 2024, because the influx of temporary workers is not subject to the same planning as that of permanent workers, the job market depends more and more on unpredictable factors.
This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.