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Omicron Really Crushed Quebec Restaurant & Service Workers In January

Quebec experienced a loss of 63,000 jobs in January!

Associate Editor, MTL Blog
Omicron Really Crushed Quebec Restaurant & Service Workers In January

COVID-19 has not been playing around, particularly when it comes to the Omicron variant's impact on employment. In January 2022, Quebec experienced a loss of 63,000 jobs according to Statistics Canada, with accommodation and food services being the hardest-hit industries.

This dip in employment was the first major decline in 12 months, when the province was also under strict health measures, StatCan reports. In December 2021, Premier François Legault imposed a provincewide curfew along with a ban on indoor dining, which Statistics Canada links to Quebec's 1.4% total decline in employment seen last month.

The effects of Omicron were not only felt in Quebec. Accommodation and food services saw an employment decrease of 11.1% (113,000 jobs) nationwide in January — the biggest monthly drop since April 2020, the agency said.

Quebec and Ontario accounted for "nearly all of the employment decline in accommodation and food services," which Statistics Canada connects to the fact that both provinces faced public health restrictions during this period.

The agency stated that the employment losses experienced throughout Quebec in January 2022 "were mainly among youth aged 15 to 24 and men and women aged 25 to 54."

In the Montreal census metropolitan area, employment decreased by a total of 43,000 jobs in January, the "first notable decrease since August 2021," the report says, and the unemployment rate increased to 5.8%.

Overall, employment fell by 1% (200,000 jobs) nationwide last month, according to Statistics Canada — a decline primarily "driven by Ontario and Quebec." Both part-time (117,000 total jobs) and full-time (83,000 total jobs) work were impacted.

The unemployment rate in Canada increased for the very first time in nine months, the agency said.

Luckily, Legault has officially lifted the ban on dining room closures, and the Omicron situation across the province seems to be improving, with hospitalizations continuing to decrease.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Mike Chaar
    Associate Editor, MTL Blog
    Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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