Labour Force Survey, September 2012

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Employment increased for the second consecutive month in September, up 52,000, mainly in full-time work. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 7.4% as more people participated in the labour market.

Chart 1 
Chart 1: Employment

Chart description: Employment

CSV version of the chart

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.0% or 175,000, driven by an increase of 157,000 (+1.1%) in full-time work. The total number of hours worked rose by 1.4% over the same period.

In September, employment rose in Ontario and Manitoba and fell in Saskatchewan. There was little change in the other provinces.

There was more employment in a number of industries, including retail and wholesale trade; construction; information, culture and recreation as well as agriculture. Employment losses were primarily in "other services"; business, building and other support services; and natural resources.

The number of self-employed increased by 34,000 in September, while there was little change in the number of private and public sector employees. Despite the September increase in self-employment, year-over-year gains in total employment were primarily among private sector employees (+159,000).

The number of workers aged 25 to 54 increased in September, while there was little change in the other major demographic groups.

Chart 2 
Unemployment rate
Chart 2: Unemployment rate

Chart description: Unemployment rate

CSV version of the chart

Employment gains in Ontario and Manitoba

Following a decline in August, employment in Ontario grew by 31,000 in September. Year-over-year growth was 0.7%, mostly in part-time work, and below the national growth rate of 1.0%. The unemployment rate for the province was 7.9% in September.

In Manitoba, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 6,600 in September, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.4 percentage points to 5.0%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased 1.6% (+10,000).

In September, employment in Saskatchewan declined by 3,600, the first notable loss since November 2011. This decline brought the unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 4.7%. Despite this loss, Saskatchewan continued to have one of the lowest unemployment rates among the provinces.

Employment was little changed in Quebec for the month of September. With more people searching for work, the unemployment rate increased 0.4 percentage points to 8.0%. Year-over-year employment growth was 0.8%, all in full time.

Industry perspective

Employment increased by 34,000 in retail and wholesale trade in September. This increase offsets losses earlier in 2012, leaving employment in the industry little changed from 12 months earlier.

In September, the number of construction workers rose by 29,000, following losses the month before. This leaves employment in the industry at a similar level to that of September 2011.

In information, culture and recreation, employment rose by 24,000 in September. Despite this increase, employment in the industry was virtually unchanged from 12 months earlier.

Employment in agriculture rose 8,700 in September, bringing total year-over-year gains to 13,000 (+4.2%).

In September, the number of people working in "other services" fell by 19,000. Employment in the industry was similar to that of September 2011, as gains earlier in the period were offset by losses in recent months.

Employment declined by 17,000 in business, building and other support services. Nevertheless, year-over-year gains totaled 26,000 (+3.9%).

Employment up for people aged 25 to 54

Employment rose among core-aged people (+36,000), mainly men. Employment for men aged 25 to 54 rose by 21,000 in September, the first notable increase since March 2011. With this increase, the employment level for core-aged men is back to its pre-recession peak of October 2008. However, the rate of employment for this group was 85.2%, down from 86.5% in October 2008.

Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was little changed in September, and their unemployment rate stood at 15.0%. Compared with 12 months earlier, youth employment fell by 70,000 (-2.8%) and their unemployment rate increased by 1.0 percentage points. Youths are the only demographic group that have not recovered from the employment losses observed during the recession.

In September, employment among people aged 55 and over was little changed. However, the year-over-year increase for this group was 184,000 (+6.0%). The robust year-over-year employment growth for both men and women aged 55 and over was, in part, the result of population aging.

Quarterly update for the territories

The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information about the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages. The following data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons should only be made on a year-over-year basis.

In the third quarter of 2012, employment levels were little changed in all three territories compared with the third quarter of 2011. However, the unemployment rate in Nunavut declined by 2.4 percentage points to 14.8% over the period, as fewer people were searching for work. The unemployment rate was little changed for the other two territories and stood at 8.6% in Northwest Territories and 5.3% in Yukon.

Note to readers

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 (Catalogue number71-001-X, free).

The employment rate is the number of employed persons as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The rate for a particular group (for example, youth aged 15 to 24) is the number employed in that group as a percentage of the population for that group.

The unemployment rate is the number unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).

The participation rate is the number of employed and unemployed as a percentage of the population. For more detailed information, see the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G, 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.

Educational services

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

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table282-0001 to 282-0042, CANSIM table282-0047 to 282-0063, CANSIM table282-0069 to 282-0095, CANSIM table282-0100 to 282-0121 and CANSIM table282-0200 to 282-0219.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number3701.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X, free), is now available online for the week ending September 15. 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 November 2.

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

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; or May Luong (613-951-6014;, Labour Statistics Division.