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The Daily

Friday, June 8, 2007
May 2007

Employment was little changed for a second consecutive month in May, with full-time gains mostly offset by losses in part time. The unemployment rate held steady for the fourth straight month at 6.1%, a 33-year low.

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Since the start of the year, employment has risen 1.0% (+162,000), a slightly slower pace of growth than the rate of 1.3% observed during the first five months of 2006.

The employment rate for students—those aged 15 to 24 who were studying full time in March and who plan to return to their studies in September—reached a 16-year high in May (47.2%).

Construction, information, culture and recreation, and accommodation and food services have been the main source of employment growth in Canada since the beginning of 2007. These three industries also buoyed employment in May, counteracting the weakness in the trade sector and in natural resources.

Note to readers

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market information on youths aged 15 to 24 who attended school full time in March and intended to return to school in the fall. The May survey results provide an early indication of the summer job market, particularly for students aged 20 to 24. Many younger students aged 15 to 19 are not yet out of school for the summer. Survey results for June, July and August will provide further insight into the summer job market. The published estimates are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made from one year to another.

Employment in British Columbia increased by an estimated 14,000 in May, all in full time. British Columbia (+2.0%) leads the way for employment growth so far this year, with New Brunswick (+1.9%), Alberta (+1.8%), Quebec (+1.3%) and Manitoba (+1.3%) also above the national average.

Full-time employment growth among adult men and youths

Overall employment among adult men and youths aged 15 to 24 years was little changed in May, as strong full-time gains were mostly offset by losses in part-time employment. The employment picture for adult women was also little changed in May.

More students working

The summer employment market started on a positive note, with 33,000 more students employed in May compared to a year ago. The employment rate for students who were in school full time in March and intended to return to school in September reached 47.2% in May, the highest rate in 16 years.

The overall employment growth among students over the past year was driven by 15- and 16-year-olds entering the labour market and finding part-time work. The employment rate of these students increased by 2.8 percentage points from a year ago, reaching 30.0% in May.

Employment among students aged 20 to 24 also showed strength in May. Their employment rate reached 62.4%, the highest since 1990, while they registered their lowest unemployment rate in 31 years, at an estimated 12.2%. More of these students held full-time jobs in May compared to a year ago.

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Self-employment on the rise

May saw a large increase in the number of self-employed, up an estimated 56,000, while the number of employees in the private sector fell by 58,000. Since October 2006, the number of self-employed has jumped 6.5%, well ahead of gains for both public (+0.9%) and private sector (+0.4%) employees.

Employment growth in British Columbia

Employment in British Columbia increased by an estimated 14,000 in May, bringing year-to-date gains to 45,000 (+2.0%). Employment growth so far in 2007 has been in construction, trade, and information, culture and recreation. The unemployment rate in this province was 4.2% in May.

While still well above the national average, Alberta's employment growth (+1.8%) for the first five months of 2007 has slowed compared to the same period in 2006 (+3.9%). Gains so far this year stem mainly from trade (+19,000) and information, culture and recreation (+9,800). Alberta's unemployment rate in May rose to 3.8% (+0.4 percentage points).

In Manitoba, the participation rate reached a record high of 70.0% in May, as more people entered the labour market. At the same time, the unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 5.2%. Despite this increase, Manitoba's unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the country.

New Brunswick leads the Atlantic provinces

New Brunswick's year-to-date employment growth (+1.9%) in 2007 was among the strongest in Canada. It was also the only Atlantic province to record a significant increase in employment since the beginning of the year, with the largest gains in accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation.

Employment in Nova Scotia fell in May (-4,400), with losses spread across several sectors. The unemployment rate held steady at 8.0%, due to a sharp decline in labour force participation. Employment losses in Prince Edward Island (-1,400) pushed the unemployment rate estimate up to 10.0%.

Quebec's employment picture improves in 2007

While employment was little changed in Quebec in May, the unemployment rate held steady at its historic 33-year low of 7.2%. Since the beginning of the year, employment has risen 1.3%, above the 0.3% growth for the same period in 2006. So far this year, increases in construction, accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation have more than offset losses in the manufacturing sector.

Growth in Ontario so far this year has been hindered by declines in manufacturing (-3.2%) and business, building and support services (-6.8%). Despite strength in various service sectors, Ontario's overall employment growth (+0.3%) for the first five months of 2007 continues to lag well behind the national average. The unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points in May to 6.3%.

Note: 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 the 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-XWE, free).

Available on CANSIM: tables 282-0001 to 282-0042, 282-0047 to 282-0064 and 282-0069 to 282-0099.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3701.

Available at 7:00 a.m. online under The Daily module of our website.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (71-001-XWE, free), is now available online for the week ending May 19. From the Publications module of our website, under Free Internet publications, choose Labour. LAN and bulk prices are available on request. The CD-ROM Labour Force Historical Review, 2006 (71F0004XCB, $209) is now available.

Data tables are also now available online. From the By subject module of our website, choose Labour.

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on July 6.

For general information or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-873-8788; 613-951-4090; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Danielle Zietsma (613-951-4243) or Jeannine Usalcas (613-951-4720), Labour Statistics Division.

Tables. Table(s).