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The Daily

Friday, November 7, 2008
October 2008 

Following a large gain the month before, employment was little changed in October as an increase in full-time work was mostly offset by losses in part time. The unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%, driven by an increase in the number of people looking for work.

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Since the beginning of 2008, employment has increased 1.2% (+203,000), with gains in both full and part time. Employment rose by 2.0% (+338,000) over the same period of 2007, most of which was full time.

In October, employment increased in Alberta, where the unemployment rate remained the lowest in the country, at 3.7%. There was little employment change in the other provinces.

Strong employment growth in public administration in October was spurred by hiring for the federal election. At the same time, employment declined in accommodation and food services. There was little change for all other industries.

A large decline in youth employment in October was offset by strong gains among women aged 55 and over and men aged 25 to 54. So far this year, older women have had the fastest growth rate in employment.

Note to readers

Please note that Table 1 in the publication Labour Force Information has been extended to include labour force characteristics for men and women aged 25 to 54 years and 55 years and over at the Canada level.

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-XWE, free).

The year-over-year growth in average hourly wages for October was 4.3%, above the most recent increase of 3.4% in the Consumer Price Index. Compared with a year earlier, average hourly wages were higher for all age groups, with growth being strongest for youths and older workers.

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Public administration employment growth was strong in October

With the federal election in mid-October, there were large employment gains in public administration (+40,000), spread across most provinces. Most of the increase was among occupations related to the election process.

Also in October, employment in accommodation and food services declined by 27,000, mostly in food services and drinking places. The bulk of these losses were in Ontario and Quebec.

Solid employment gains in Alberta

Employment in Alberta rose by 15,000 in October, pushing the employment rate to 72.5%, the highest on record. Since the beginning of 2008, industries with the largest gains have been professional, scientific and technical services; manufacturing; construction; trade; and agriculture. So far this year, Alberta's employment growth has been 2.2%, compared with 3.5% over the first 10 months of 2007.

In New Brunswick, employment edged up in October. However, the unemployment rate jumped 0.8 percentage points to 8.8%, as a large increase in the number of people looking for work brought the participation rate to an all-time high of 65.4%.

With Quebec's overall employment little changed in October, the unemployment rate edged down to 7.2%. So far this year, employment growth has been negligible at 0.2% (+7,000), as increases in information, culture and recreation; health care and social assistance; construction; and manufacturing were offset by declines in agriculture; education; and other services.

Although Ontario's employment was unchanged in October, so far this year, it is up 1.5% (+101,000), slightly above the national growth rate of 1.2%. Gains over the first 10 months of the year were in transportation and warehousing; construction; and public administration. Manufacturing is down 14,000 so far in 2008, compared with a decline of 43,000 over the same period of 2007. The unemployment rate edged up to 6.5% in October, little changed from the beginning of 2008.

In British Columbia, employment edged down in October, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 5.1%, the highest since December 2006. So far this year, employment growth stands at 0.8%, below the national average.

Employment increases for core-age men and older women offset by a large drop in youth employment

Women aged 55 and older experienced a large gain in employment for October (+25,000). While these women represent less than 1 out of every 14 employed people, so far this year they account for a third of all employment gains. With year-to-date gains of 64,000, older women had a larger increase in employment than other demographic groups such as youth, core-age men, core-age women and men aged 55 and older.

Employment among men aged 25 to 54 rose by 20,000 in October. Following large gains the month before, youth employment fell by 34,000 in October, as losses in part-time work more than offset gains in full time.

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.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (71-001-XWE, free), is now available online for the week ending October 18. 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, 2007 (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 December 5.

For more 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).