Labour Force Survey

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January 2012 (Previous release)

Employment was virtually unchanged in January, and the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 7.6% as more people searched for work. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment rose by 129,000 (+0.7%), with most of the growth occurring in the first six months of this period.



Chart description: Employment

Both full-time and part-time employment were essentially unchanged in January. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of full-time workers was up 1.2% (+170,000), while the number of part-time workers declined 1.2% (-41,000). At the same time, the total number of hours worked grew 1.4%, with all of the increase in the first half of the period.

Employment decreased in Prince Edward Island in January and was little changed in the other provinces.

Employment increased in educational services; information, culture and recreation; and in "other services", such as personal and household services. There were declines, however, in professional, scientific and technical services; and in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.

The number of employees increased by 39,000 in January, with the gains shared between private and public sector workers. At the same time, the number of self-employed fell by 37,000. Compared with 12 months earlier, all of the employment gains have been among private sector employees (+1.3%), while both self-employment and public sector employment were virtually unchanged.

Employment increased in January among women aged 55 and over and was little changed for the other demographic age groups.

Note to readers

Every January, seasonally adjusted estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are revised using the latest seasonal factors. Seasonally adjusted series have been revised going back three years, starting with January 2009. These series became available on CANSIM on January 27, 2012 (tables 282-0087 to 282-0094, 282-0100, 282-0116 and 282-0117) and are now available for download free of charge.

The 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. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

Statistics Canada is moving to one release time, 8:30 a.m., for all data releases in The Daily. This will mean a change in the release time for the LFS, which is currently 7:00 a.m. This change will be implemented with the release of LFS data on April 5, 2012.

Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate

Chart description: Unemployment rate

Industry perspective

In January, employment in education increased by 23,000. At the same time, employment increased by 19,000 in information, culture and recreation.

Employment in "other services" rose by 14,000, bringing growth over the past 12 months to 5.5% (+42,000), one of the highest rates of all industries.

There were fewer people employed in January in professional, scientific and technical services, down 45,000. Despite this decline, employment in the industry remained 23,000 (+1.8%) above the level of 12 months earlier.

Employment in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing fell for the fifth consecutive month, down 23,000 in January. This left employment in the industry 50,000 (-4.6%) below its level of January 2011.

While employment in natural resources was little changed in January, it has posted the highest 12-month rate of growth of all industries, up 8.5% or 28,000 since January 2011.

Employment in January edged up in manufacturing, bringing gains over the last two months to 36,000. Despite the recent increase, the number of factory workers was down 2.5% (-44,000) from the level of 12 months earlier.

Provincial summary

Employment in Quebec edged up in January and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 8.4%. Compared with January 2011, employment in the province was down 1.1% (-45,000) as a result of losses in the final quarter of 2011.

While employment in Alberta was little changed in January, the province posted the highest growth rate (+3.9% or +80,000) compared with 12 months earlier. The unemployment rate, at 4.9%, remained the lowest among all provinces.

In Ontario, employment was little changed in January. However, an increase in the number of people searching for work pushed the unemployment rate up 0.4 percentage points to 8.1%. In the 12 months to January 2012, employment in the province increased 0.7% (+44,000), with all the growth occurring in the first half of the period.

Employment in Prince Edward Island fell by 1,000 and the unemployment rate rose by one percentage point to 12.2%.

More women aged 55 and over working

Employment increased by 19,000 in January among women aged 55 and over. Employment for this age group grew 3.5% (+49,000) compared with 12 months earlier, in large part a result of the aging of the population.

Men aged 55 and over saw little employment change in January. Their 12-month employment growth rate of 3.1% (+52,000) was entirely the result of the aging population.

Among people aged 25 to 54, there was little employment change in January. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment for this age group was up 0.5% (+59,000).

Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 edged down for the fourth consecutive month. As a result, youth employment was 31,000 (-1.2%) below its level in January 2011 and the unemployment rate was 14.5%.

Available without charge in 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 January 14. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour.

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 March 9.

For more information, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116;, Communications Division.

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; or Jeannine Usalcas (613-951-4720;, Labour Statistics Division.