Canada’s job growth surpassed expectations in September, with kids back at school having positive effects on mothers and the reopening of various service sectors benefitting youth employment, driving the gain in that order, but don’t expect that momentum to continue in the months ahead, Scotiabank Economics  says.

Jobs for women between the ages of 25 to 54 were up for the fifth consecutive month in September, according to the latest Statistics Canada data, while the employment index for mothers climbed to being on par with fathers for the first time in the pandemic. Employment increased at a faster pace for mothers between the age of 25-54 with children under the age of 18 than for fathers with children of the same age from August to September this year.

Chart illustrating gender gap in employment recovery

A major uncertainty had been whether the back-to-school effect would have occurred in September or been more spread out into October, as mothers may have required more time to return to work once the children were in school. With the mothers-fathers employment gap now shut, this suggests that the changes happened in September, Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said in the report.

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Another notable change was the increase in youth employment for both genders, aged 15–24, which was up by 127,000 jobs last month. Youth gains likely reflected the fact that the effects of easing restrictions would be more concentrated in high-contact sectors, like restaurants, bars and other service sectors, where young people often work. However, it is also to be noted that despite these monthly increases, youth employment did not see a full recovery in comparison to other major age groups, Holt added.

“Overall, this could be the last great jobs report because the mothers and youth effects are unlikely to repeat,” he said.

Youth employment recovery graph