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But it will take months before we have a true picture of the real cost of the pandemic on different racialized groups, Macdonald believes, because there is still insufficient jobs-focused data by race.
“It is not new that visible minorities face higher unemployment rates and lower income, because we can already see that in the census data,” he said. “What’s new is that during this pandemic, we can now see who is hit harder.”
Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, pointed out that Canada’s story on race and jobs is much more nuanced than that of its southern neighbour.
“In the U.S., their labour force survey has always tracked three big buckets — white, Hispanic and Black,” she said. “But what we can see here is that South Asians and Chinese Canadians have been most impacted in the last one year and the groups that are seeing the most continued increase in unemployment are South Asians, Arabs and Blacks — our situation does not mirror the U.S.”
Beyond race, July’s unemployment numbers were “somewhat of a good news story,” according to Brendon Bernard, an economist at Indeed Canada, a jobs site.
“In the grand scheme of things, the reopening of the economy has brought a lot of people back to work, which is why we’re seeing a pretty solid pace in employment growth,” he said. “However, there were signs that further progress might not be as rapid, as a return to work among those temporarily laid off was the prime source of job gains.”