Canada's jobless rate declined for the fourth consecutive month in September from a record high at the Covid-19 outbreak's height, dropping 1.2 points to 9.0 percent, the national statistical agency said Friday.
Some 378,000 mostly full-time new jobs were added in the month -- beating economists' forecasts -- but employment was still below pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistics Canada.
The beginning of September saw millions of Canadians return to school and work amid a substantial easing of restrictions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But some restrictions were reimposed amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Although the jobs data "looks better than anticipated," CIBC analyst Royce Mendes said in a research note that "the country is now faced with new virus cases clearly trending in the wrong direction, threatening to upend the labor market recovery."
As a result of a Covid-19 economic shutdown, the unemployment rate had more than doubled from 5.6 percent in February to a record high 13.7 percent in May.
Compared with February, total employment last month remained down 720,000 (-3.7 percent), mostly in accommodation and food services, retail trade, construction, and transportation and warehousing.
Some sectors, Statistics Canada said in a statement, still face a "long recovery," while others, including manufacturing, have almost fully recovered.
The September job gains in services were led by accommodation and food services (+72,000), educational services (+68,000) as well as information, culture and recreation (+56,000), said Statistics Canada.
In the goods sector, employment gains were largest in manufacturing (+68,000).
The number of employed Canadians who worked less than half their usual hours, meanwhile, fell by 108,000 (-7.1 percent), and the proportion working from home edged down to 25.6 percent.