Labour Force Survey

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August 2011 (Previous release)

Employment was little changed for the second consecutive month in August and the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 7.3%.


Chart description: Employment

In the past 12 months, employment has grown by 1.3% (+223,000), primarily in Ontario and Alberta, and among private sector employees. Over this period, full-time employment increased 2.2% (+300,000), part-time work declined 2.3% (-77,000) and total actual hours worked rose by 2.6%.

In August, there were employment losses in construction; transportation and warehousing; and natural resources. These declines were offset by an increase in health care and social assistance.

Employment increased in Nova Scotia in August, while it declined in Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan.

There were employment increases among people aged 25 to 54, but these gains were offset by losses among those aged 55 and over.

This summer, the average unemployment rate for students aged 15 to 24 was 17.2%, slightly above the rate of 16.9% recorded in the summer of 2010. In comparison, the rates in the summers of 2006 to 2008 were below 14%.

Unemployment rate

Chart description: Unemployment rate

Note to readers

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).

Seasonal adjustment and educational services

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

The LFS seasonal adjustment process removes the "average" seasonal pattern in the monthly data, according to trends seen in the previous few years. While there have been large movements in educational services employment in summer months in recent years, there has not been a consistent pattern in the direction or magnitude of these changes.

Declines in several industries

Employment in construction fell by 24,000 in August. Compared with 12 months earlier, however, employment in this industry is up 3.0% (+37,000).

In transportation and warehousing, employment declined by 14,000. Despite the loss in August, this industry has posted the highest growth rate of all industries at 6.3% (+51,000) in the past 12 months.

Employment in natural resources declined for the second consecutive month in August, down by 12,000. With these recent declines, employment is 26,000 below its level of August 2010.

In health care and social assistance, employment rose by 50,000 in August, more than offsetting the decline in July. This industry has grown by 2.9% over the past 12 months, continuing a long-term upward trend.

Employment in manufacturing was little changed in August. Over the past 12 months, employment in the industry has risen by 40,000 (+2.3%).

Provincial summary

Employment declined by 3,400 in Newfoundland and Labrador in August, leaving employment up slightly from 12 months earlier (+0.7%). As more people searched for work in August, the unemployment rate increased by 1.8 percentage points to 13.7%.

In Saskatchewan, employment declined by 3,000 in August. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 4.5%, as fewer people participated in the labour market. Employment levels in the province were down 0.5% compared with 12 months earlier.

Employment increased by 4,100 in Nova Scotia, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.6 percentage points to 8.9%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment is up 0.6%.

In Quebec, while employment was little changed in August, the unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points to 7.6%, the result of more people searching for work. Over the past 12 months, employment increased by 1.0%, lower than the national average of 1.3%.

There was little employment change in Alberta and Ontario in August, and their unemployment rates remained unchanged at 5.6% and 7.5%, respectively. However, over the year, both Alberta and Ontario had employment growth above the national average, with Alberta leading the way at 4.2% (+86,000) and Ontario posting the second highest growth rate of 1.5% (+102,000).

Increases among core-aged workers offset by declines among older workers

Employment increased among workers aged 25 to 54 years in August, up 23,000. This brings employment gains from 12 months earlier to 116,000 (+1.0%).

Employment declined by 25,000 among workers aged 55 and over. Despite this decline, employment for this age group was up 3.2% (+94,000) in the past 12 months.

Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was little changed in August, with employment 0.6% (+14,000) higher than in August 2010.

Summer labour market for students

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market information about young people aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and intend to return to school in the fall. The published estimates are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made on a year-over-year basis.

This summer, the average unemployment rate between May and August for students aged 15 to 24 was 17.2%, slightly above the rate of 16.9% recorded in the summer of 2010. In comparison, the rates in the summers of 2006 to 2008 were below 14%.

Compared with the previous summer, the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged for 17 to 19 year-olds and for 20 to 24 year-olds, at 16.4% and 10.3%, respectively. However, the unemployment rate of 15 to 16 year-olds was 30.7%, up 2.6 percentage points from the summer of 2010.

The average number of hours worked at all jobs during the summer of 2011 by students aged 15 to 24 was 24.0 hours per week, slightly higher than for the summer of 2010 at 23.7 hours and among the lowest since data were first collected in 1977.

Available on CANSIM: tables 282-0001 to 282-0042, 282-0047 to 282-0063, 282-0069 to 282-0095 and 282-0100 to 282-0121.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3701.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (71-001-X, free), is now available online for the week ending August 20. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour. LAN and bulk prices are available on request. The DVD-ROM Labour Force Historical Review, 2010 (71F0004X, $209), is now available. See How to order products.

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

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on October 7.

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.