The latest economic indicators from Statistics Canada show an increase in Manitoba’s employment from April to May, a sign the province’s careful, measured approach in Phase One of its Restoring Safe Services is working.

“Last month, we saw historic declines in Manitoba’s employment numbers as the COVID-19 pandemic affected the global economy,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “Now, as Manitoba slowly and safely reopens for business and restores services, our job market is beginning to rebound as Manitobans return to work and revive the economy.”

The latest report from Statistics Canada indicates Manitoba fared better than the national average in key categories. Total employment in Manitoba increased by 13,100, a 2.3 per cent increase. This follows a decrease of 64,200 positions the previous month and surpasses the nationwide May increase of 1.8 per cent. Manitoba’s labour force increased by 13,800 people.

Manitoba saw a large 10.3 per cent increase in part-time jobs by 10,000, compared to the national rate of 2.8 per cent. Full-time employment was up 3,100, a 0.6 per cent increase.

The private sector, which includes the self-employed, increased by 22,400, a 5.4 per cent gain from April to May. The national rate increased by 2.5 per cent.

Overall, the provincial unemployment rate edged down to 11.2 per cent, the lowest across the country and below Canada’s rate of 13.7 per cent. Manitoba youth unemployment decreased 1.8 percentage points to 22.8 per cent, ranking second lowest in Canada.

“We are seeing promising growth in the private sector compared to the rest of Canada as Manitoba’s small businesses begin to rebuild and recover,” said Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler. “Our government continues to find ways to support employers and employees so we can get more Manitobans back to work.”

The wholesale and retail trade industry saw the largest level change from April to May, while the largest changes by occupation occurred in trades, transport and equipment operators, as well as sales and service.

Within the provincial government, the province worked with government unions, their members and non-unionized employees to modestly reduce workforce expenses and avoid public sector layoffs, Eichler noted.

The ministers noted the Manitoba government will continue to bring in policies and programs designed to help those who need support through this time. More than 5,000 Manitoba businesses have received assistance through the Manitoba Gap Protection Program, which has paid out approximately $30.5 million. The Summer Student Job Recovery Program has seen more than 1,000 employers apply for a wage subsidy for more than 2,300 student positions. The Manitoba Economic Support Centre has spoken with more than 100,000 businesses, not-for-profits, charities and other community groups. The province announced a $500-million Manitoba Restart Program to boost the economy and put even more Manitobans back to work.