Statistics Canada said the economy added 488,000 full-time and 465,000 part-time positions in June. This included a drop in employment of 3 million and a COVID-related increase in absences from work of 2.5 million.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a gain of 700,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 12%. "The rate stood at 5.0 per cent at the start of the pandemic in February", said James on Friday morning.
In Ontario, where the easing of COVID-19 restrictions began in late May and expanded on June 12, employment rose by 378,000 in June, the first increase since the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
As in May, even though more people found jobs, more people were also looking for work.
Economists expect the report will show a bump in employment as a result, further recouping some of the approximately three million jobs lost over March and April.
Canada's unemployment rate was 12.3% in June, down from the previous month's record-setting level of 13.7%, the data agency said.
Also, gains nationally were not shared equally among groups, with women, youth and low-wage workers still slower to rebound, which Stanford said could be problematic if those jobs don't ever come back.
One of the unknowns that could impact the 13-per-cent unemployment rate is the take-up of post-secondary education in the fall and into 2021, said Finlayson. Market expectations were for an increase of 550,000 jobs in June, according to economists from National Bank Financial.
The June totals did not capture people who temporarily lost work due to the coronavirus crisis and want to work, but are not now looking for employment, Statscan said.
"This is kind of a one-time burst in employment, and I think we'll see some job growth going forward", said Finlayson. Meanwhile, the proportion of households reporting difficulty paying the bills dropped to 20.1 per cent in June from 22.5 per cent in May.
A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. But employment still remained well below pre-pandemic levels.