Tourism Labour Shortages Impacting Recovery

Canadian Tourism Labour Market Snapshot

Overall, tourism employment grew (5.9%) over last month and the unemployment rate improved for all industry groups. There was also significant improvement in the unemployment rate across all industries when compared to the same month in 2019, 2020, and 2021. However, these data are artificially inflated by the decline in the overall size of the labour force from previous years.

A key observation this month is the positive growth in the May 2022 unemployment rate is deceptive. While the labour force continues to grow from its unprecedented lows during the COVID-19 pandemic, the total tourism labour force remains 203,000 workers short (or -9.2%) of the level it had in May 2019. Between April and May 2022, the size of the total tourism labour force grew by 4.6% (88,400 workers), but two industry groups—transportation and travel services—instead saw a decreased labour force this month: -1.6% (-5,600 workers) and -1.4% (-500 workers), respectively. This points to a significant labour shortage in the sector at a time when many of its industries are gearing up for a peak economic season.

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Source: Tourism Industry Association of PEI (TIAPEI)

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