Canadian October Employment Survey

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Canadian October Employment Survey

Employment in Canada continued to rise in October, jumping an estimated 63,000, split between full and part time in a report from Statistics Canada . At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to a 33-year low of 5.8 percent, down 0.1 of a percentage point from September. Canadian employment has increased 2.1 percent (+346,000) so far in 2007, the strongest January-to-October growth in the past five years. October’s employment rate reached an all-time high of 63.7 percent.

October’s employment increase was in the service sector, most notably in health care and social assistance, “other services”, and public administration. However, this strength was tempered by losses in business, building and other support services, as well as accommodation and food services.

Wage pressure continued to build in October, with the year-over-year increase in average hourly wages estimated at 4.1 percent, still well above the most recent year-over-year Consumer Price Index increase of 2.5 percent.

Of all industries, health care and social assistance posted the strongest estimated employment growth in October. There was also an increase in “other services”, an industry that covers a variety of activities, such as dry cleaning and laundry services, electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance, as well as grant-making and giving services. As well, public administration added an estimated 20,000 workers in October, all in Ontario.

In contrast to the growth in the service sector, there has been overall weakness in the goods-producing industries, where employment has edged down since the start of the year. So far in 2007, significant losses in manufacturing have been almost completely offset by robust gains in construction and utilities. In October, utilities were the only industry in the goods-producing sector to show signs of strength. Utilities include electric power generation, transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, and water supply and sewage systems.

After slow growth throughout most of 2007, employment grew strongly in Ontario for the second consecutive month, up 32,000 in October, mainly in part time. So far in 2007, employment in Ontario has risen an estimated 1.7 percent, still below the national average of 2.1 percent.

October’s employment growth in Ontario was mainly in public administration and “other services”. The growth in public administration was due, in part, to the provincial election, which coincided with the Labour Force Survey reference week.

Quebec’s unemployment rate in October remained at 6.9 percent, the lowest level in 33 years. So far in 2007, employment has grown 2.2 percent, spurred on by gains in construction, accommodation and food services, and “other services”. These gains have pushed the employment rate up, bringing it to a new record high of 61.2 percent in October.

In Manitoba, employment grew 0.6 percent in October, bringing the increase since the start of 2007 to 2.5 percent. In October, Manitoba’s employment rate reached an all-time high of 66.8 percent. The province also had the second lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.0 percent).

British Columbia
Although employment in British Columbia showed little change in October, it has grown 2.4 percent since the start of 2007, mainly due to strong growth in trade. In October, the unemployment rate in the province stood at 4.4 percent, among the lowest rates in Canada.

Alberta’s employment was little changed in October. However, the province continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, at 3.4 percent, as well as Canada’s highest employment rate (71.5 percent).

Nova Scotia
In Nova Scotia, October’s employment increase (+5,300) was mainly attributable to full-time work. For the first 10 months of 2007, employment has grown mainly in information, culture and recreation, in health care and social assistance, and in professional, scientific and technical services.

Older workers lead the way
Employment increased by 32,000 among people 55 and over, with the gains distributed equally between men and women. The participation rate in October for Canadians aged 55 and over reached an all-time high of 33.8 percent. This was due in large part to older women, who in October had their highest employment and participation rates in at least three decades.