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Canada’s real problem isn’t job losses, it is the rush to retire

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Economy 5 hours ago (Sep 11, 2022 09: 20AM ET)

Canada's real problem is not job losses, it's the rush to retire Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A “Help wanted” sign sometimes appears in the window of a bakery in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

By Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Greater than a year following the Great Resignation took hold in the usa, Canada is grappling using its own greyer version: THE FANTASTIC Retirement.

Canada’s work force grew in August, nonetheless it fell the prior 8 weeks and remains smaller than prior to the summer as thousands of people simply stopped working. A lot of this could be chalked around more Canadians than ever before retiring, said Statistics Canada.

It isn’t just the 65-and-over crowd packing up their offices and hanging up their tool belts. An archive amount of Canadians aged 55-64 are actually reporting they retired within the last 12 months, Statscan data shows. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/3RVXvNM)

Graphic: Canadians are retiring in droves – https://graphics.reuters.com/CANADA-ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT/lgpdwdxkovo/chart.png

That’s hastening a mass exodus of Canada’s most very skilled workers, leaving businesses scrambling, helping push wages sharply higher and threatening to help expand drag down the country’s sagging productivity, economists say.

“We knew from the very long time ago that wave was coming, that people would enter this moment,” said Jimmy Jean, chief economist at Desjardins Group. “And it’s really only likely to intensify in the coming years.”

“The chance you have, and in a few sectors you’re already seeing it, is that folks are leaving without there being enough younger workers to dominate. So there is a lack of human capital and knowledge.”

Through the pandemic, retirements fell as much Canadians elected to stay in their jobs longer. With restrictions now lifted, most are rushing to create up for lost time, choosing to visit and save money time with family.

Their departures are shrinking the work force, that could weigh on economic growth at the same time once the central bank is aggressively hiking interest levels to counter spiking inflation, fanning fears that the economy will belong to recession.

Canada – which includes ramped up immigration to greatly help drive economic growth – gets the largest working-age population, as a share of the entire population, in the G7, but simultaneously its work force hasn’t been older, in accordance with Statscan. One in five workers in Canada is 55 or older. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/3RTcMyJ)

Graphic: Canada’s work force is rapidly aging – https://graphics.reuters.com/CANADA-ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT2/xmvjoajkypr/chart.png

There have been 307,000 Canadians in August who had left their job to be able to retire at some time within the last year, up 31.8% in one year earlier and 12.5% greater than in August 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic, Statscan said.

Increasing the problem, a lot more than 620,000 Canadians entered the 65+ age category through the pandemic, a 9.7% upsurge in that population group. Despite three straight months of job losses, job vacancies and postings remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

NURSES AND TRUCKERS

The retirement problem is specially dire in skilled fields like trades and nursing. Since May, Canada has lost 34,400 jobs in healthcare even while a record amount of nurses reported working overtime hours.

Those weren’t jobs being cut, but instead people retiring, said Cathryn Hoy, president of the Ontario Nurses Association.

“It is a huge problem at this time, because we’ve had so many which have retired unexpectedly,” she said, citing the pandemic, working conditions and a wage dispute with Canada’s largest province.

The transportation industry can be grappling with a severe worker shortage, both due to the pandemic-driven frenzy for more goods so when the workforce ages.

“A growing number of drivers are aging and for that reason retiring or contemplating different lifestyle,” said Tony Reeder, owner of Trans-Canada College, a lifetime career college that trains transport truck drivers.

Simultaneously, demand is booming from trucking companies, a lot of which undertake student drivers for on-the-job classes and hire them outright the moment they’re fully licensed, said Reeder.

“Without trucks and folks to operate a vehicle trucks … goods will sit at ports and in warehouses instead of addressing the destination where they may be consumed,” he said.

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