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Friday, November 5, 2010

StatsCan's Labour Force Survey - Two Years Since The Decline

It is recognized that the labour market began its downward spiral in October of 2008 so today's Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada show where we stand exactly two years after the decline began - and the news is good.

While the unemployment rate has stayed pretty consistent over the past few months we have been adding more & more full time positions. The unemployment rate is consistent because more people are now actively looking for work and this is evidenced by the largest demographic to enter the work force - those 55 year old & older.

Workers aged 55 and over have experienced employment growth between October 2008 and October 2010, up 13.5% for women and 10.0% for men. Employment for workers between 25-54 is within 1% of pre-recession levels.

Where are the hot spots? Alberta is leading the way with about 17,000 new jobs in October, followed by PEI with only modest gains.

And construction is certainly a growing industry across almost all of Canada.

The full report is available at The Statistics Canada website or it is enclosed in this Blog Post.

Labour Force Survey

In October, employment remained virtually unchanged for the second consecutive month, as full-time gains offset part-time losses. The unemployment rate edged down to 7.9% and has been around 8% for the past seven months. Employment

Since October 2009, total employment has risen by 375,000 (+2.2%), mostly the result of strength over the first half of 2010, when employment growth averaged 51,000 per month. In the last four months, however, monthly gains have averaged 5,700.

The number of private sector employees increased in October, while self-employment declined. Public sector employment was unchanged.

Full-time employment rose by 47,000 in October, while part-time fell by 44,000. Over the past three months, losses in part time have been offset by full-time gains.

Employment increased among people aged 55 and over, nearly all among women. At the same time, there was an offsetting decline in employment for those aged 25 to 54.

Alberta posted employment gains in October, while Nova Scotia registered a notable loss. There was little change in other provinces.

Losses in retail and wholesale trade were offset by gains in information, culture and recreation; construction; and agriculture. The construction industry continued its upward trend that started in July 2009.

Average hourly wages for employees increased by 2.1% in October compared with 12 months earlier.

Unemployment rate

Note to readers

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates are based on a sample, and are therefore subject to sampling variability. Estimates for smaller geographic areas or industries will have more variability. For an explanation of sampling variability of estimates, and how to use standard errors to assess this variability, consult the "Data quality" section of the publication Labour Force Information (71-001-X, free).

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.

Additional hiring in the private sector in October

The number of private sector employees increased by 38,000 in October, while self-employment declined by 24,000. At the same time, public sector employment was virtually unchanged.

Over the past year, 337,000 employees have been added to the private sector and 134,000 to the public sector. The number of self-employed has fallen by 96,000 over the same period.

Full-time employment continues to gain

The number of people working full-time continued to rise in October, up 47,000, bringing gains to 164,000 over the past three months. At the same time, the total number of hours worked has edged up.

Part-time employment fell by 44,000 in October, with losses totalling 132,000 over the past three months.

Construction up in October

In October, employment in the goods-producing sector rose by 36,000, led by a gain of 21,000 in construction. Since October 2009, employment in construction has risen by 6.0% (+72,000), one of the fastest growth rates of all major industries.

Within the goods sector, employment also increased in agriculture in October, up 9,000, while it edged up in manufacturing.

The number of workers in the service sector declined by 33,000 in October, with losses concentrated in retail and wholesale trade (-29,000). The only service industry with a notable increase was information, culture and recreation, up 22,000.

More women aged 55 and over employed in October

In October, employment among women aged 55 and over increased by 16,000, while there was little change for men in this age group. At the same time, the number of 25 to 54 year-old workers dipped by 16,000. Youth employment was little changed in October, following a notable decline the previous month.

Between October 2009 and October 2010, the fastest rate of employment growth was among workers aged 55 and over, up 7.7% for men and 7.4% for women.

Over this year-long period, there were also employment gains for men aged 25 to 54, up 117,000 or 1.9%. Among women in this age group, employment grew much slower (+27,000 or +0.5%).

Employment gains in Alberta

Employment in Alberta rose by 17,000 in October, following two months of little change. This increase brings total gains over the past 12 months to 46,000 or 2.3%, slightly above the national growth rate of 2.2%.

Employment also increased in Prince Edward Island in October, up 1,200. Despite this increase, employment in the province remained similar to the level of 12 months earlier.

In Quebec, employment was little changed in October. The unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 8.0%, as more people were looking for work.

While employment in Ontario was also little changed in October, the unemployment rate edged down 0.2 percentage points to 8.6%, the result of fewer men aged 25 and over participating in the labour market.

In Nova Scotia, employment fell by 8,600 in October, following an increase the month before. This decline pushed the unemployment rate in the province up 0.8 percentage points to 9.8%.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador declined by 2,300 in October. A decrease in the number of people in the labour force pushed the unemployment rate down to 13.0%, its lowest level since June 2008.

Canada's labour market downturn two years later

Employment in Canada reached a high in the fall of 2008, then declined steeply over a period of nine months. Since the summer of 2009, employment has increased, particularly in the first half of 2010.

Although employment has returned to its pre-recession level of October 2008, the unemployment rate remains around 8%, well above its pre-recession level of 6.2%. Over this two-year period, the working-age population (15 years and over) grew by 2.9%, and the labour force — those working or looking for work — rose by 1.9%.

Across the provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.1%), Manitoba (+2.9%), Prince Edward Island (+2.3%), Quebec (+1.5%), Saskatchewan (+0.9%) and British Columbia (+0.6%) added employment compared with October 2008, while New Brunswick (-1.8%), Nova Scotia (-1.7%), Alberta (-1.1%) and Ontario (-0.9%) experienced losses.

These provincial differences were partly driven by the industrial composition of the economy. Over the two years, employment in the manufacturing sector dropped 10.8%, with significant declines in Ontario and Alberta. Transportation and warehousing declined by 5.4%, with notable losses in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick. Natural resources remained 2.6% below its October 2008 level, with Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia most affected.

Gains in construction were widespread across the country, as employment in that sector has now returned to its pre-recession level. British Columbia was the only exception, as construction employment dropped 13.6% below its October 2008 level.

Compared with October 2008, employment increased notably in health care and social assistance (+6.7%), as well as in professional, scientific and technical services (+6.7%). All provinces shared in the gains observed in health care and social assistance, but growth was particularly strong in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Increases in professional, scientific and technical services occurred mostly in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba.

Employment fell steeply during the downturn for youths (15 to 24) and men aged 25 to 54. In October 2010, employment among youths remained 7.8% below its October 2008 level, while the number of workers aged 25 to 54 was just below its pre-recession level (-1.0% for men and -0.7% for women). Workers aged 55 and over, however, experienced employment growth between October 2008 and October 2010, up 13.5% for women and 10.0% for men.

During the downturn, full-time employment saw large declines, while part-time increased. Although overall employment has returned to its pre-recession level, full-time employment remains 102,000 or 0.7% below its peak, while there are 110,000 (+3.5%) more workers employed part time.

Total hours worked in the labour market fell steeply during the downturn (-3.7%) and have since picked up, increasing by 2.9%. However, unlike total employment, the number of hours worked in October 2010 remained 0.9% below the October 2008 level.

Growth in hours worked lags employment growth

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on December 3.

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