The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Saskatchewan have nearly 50,000 fewer workers, according to data released Friday by Statistics Canada. The report on hours worked, labor productivity, average hourly wage and people employed showed that there were 8.4% fewer people working in the province in 2020 compared to 2019, at 49,465.
The biggest losses came in the accommodation and food services sector, where there were 10,570 fewer people employed – just over a quarter of all people working in the same industry the previous year. Other industries experiencing a significant decline in employment include mining, oil and gas extraction (16.92%), health care and social assistance (13.81%) and the arts, entertainment and leisure (20.89%).
While the number of jobs has declined, compensation per hour worked, for all industry employees, has increased. Average pay per hour worked in Saskatchewan was $35.64 in 2020, up $2.38 from 2019. Some of the biggest gainers were the educational services industry, which saw pay per hour increase from $21.00 to $24.92, and the mining, oil and gas industry. extractive sector, where total hourly compensation fell from $54.58 to $58.97. The smallest hourly earnings gains were recorded in finance and insurance ($0.44) and wholesale trade ($0.82).
The average number of hours worked also fell in 2020, with the average person across all sectors working 1,701 hours in the year. The sector with the most hours worked was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, where the average number of hours for all jobs in the sector was 2,226. educational services that the average number of hours worked was the lowest, at 1,031. This was partly due to restrictions put in place at the start of the pandemic, including the closure of many schools while plans were put in place.