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    Québec’s labour market in 2021: Who benefited most from the 4.1% rise in employment?

    Montréal, February 16, 2022. – In 2021, the number of jobs in Québec reached 4,269,000. This is an increase of 169,400 (+4.1%) over 2020, which saw a decline of 208,500 jobs. The unemployment rate in Québec was 6.1%, down from 8.9% in 2020. About 280,000 people were unemployed in 2021, compared to nearly 400,000 in 2020. These are the main highlights of the report État du marché du travail au Québec – Bilan de l’année 2021, which was released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and also shows the trends observed over the past 10 years.

    Job gains are mostly in full-time, private-sector and permanent positions

    In 2021, nearly 80% of the jobs added were full-time (+133,000). Employment volume increased by 127,000 in the private sector, but the number of self-employed workers declined by 28,000. The number of permanent positions also increased by 157,000.

    Men and the 25-to-54 age group benefited most from job growth

    Employment growth was stronger for men (+94,100) than for women (+75,400), and was most pronounced among those aged 25 to 54 (+82,700). However, young people experienced the largest percentage growth (+8.3%), resulting in a gain of 43,000 jobs.

    Most of the employment growth in 2021 was in the Montréal, Laurentides and Montérégie regions

    The Montréal region had 62,600 more jobs in 2021 than in 2020. The Laurentides and Montérégie regions posted gains of 36,000 and 26,900 jobs, respectively.

    Health care and social assistance showed the strongest growth along with trade

    Health care and social assistance employment increased by 41,800, reaching 521,900 in 2021. Trade saw an increase of 37,800 jobs, while the professional, scientific and technical services and construction industries each gained 27,000 jobs.

    Increase in average hourly earnings and vacant positions

    In 2021, average hourly earnings for Québec employees ($28.81) increased by 2.2%; the number of job vacancies rose by about 50% from 2019 to an average of 193,000 in the first three quarters.

    Comparison with Canada

    In Canada in 2021, employment grew by about 870,000 jobs (+866,200; +4.8%), after a decline of nearly one million (-986,400) in 2020. All provinces experienced job growth, with the largest increases in Ontario (+344,800), Québec (+169,400), British Columbia (+164,600) and Alberta (+109,400).

    For more information

    Read the highlights (in French only)

    Read the full report (PDF, 1.2 MB)


    The statistics presented in this publication are taken from the official data for 2021 in Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society.  It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest.  The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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