Labour Force Survey, January 2013

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Following two months of gains, employment decreased slightly in January (-22,000). A decline in the number of people looking for work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.0%.

Chart 1 
Chart 1: Employment

Chart description: Employment

CSV version of chart 1

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 1.6% or 286,000, all in full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked rose 1.7%.

In January, employment declined in Ontario and British Columbia. At the same time, there were increases in Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Public sector employment fell by 27,000 in January, while self-employment was up slightly and the number of private sector employees was little changed. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private sector employees increased by 1.9% or 210,000, while the number of public sector employees and self-employed was little changed.

There were fewer workers in educational services and manufacturing in January, while employment rose in construction and public administration.

After gains in recent months, employment among men aged 25 to 54 declined in January. Employment rose among men aged 55 and over and edged up among youths.

Chart 2 
Unemployment rate
Chart 2: Unemployment rate

Chart description: Unemployment rate

CSV version of chart 2

Employment down in Ontario and British Columbia

Following two months of increases, employment in Ontario declined by 31,000 in January, all in full-time work. With fewer people searching for work, the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 7.7%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up 1.2%.

Employment in British Columbia fell by 16,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was 6.3%. With this decline, employment in the province returned to a level similar to that of 12 months earlier.

In Alberta, the number of workers increased by 9,700 in January. However, the unemployment rate remained at 4.5% as more people participated in the labour force. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up 1.9%.

Employment in Saskatchewan increased for the second consecutive month, up 7,300 in January. With this gain, the unemployment rate declined 0.6 percentage points to 4.0%, the lowest among the provinces and lowest in Saskatchewan since November 2008. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province rose by 4.1%, the highest growth in the country.

Employment rose by 2,700 in New Brunswick in January. At the same time, the number of people searching for work increased, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 11.3%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province declined by 1.4%.

Employment in Quebec remained little changed for the second consecutive month, and the unemployment rate was 7.1%. Over the 12 months to January, employment increased by 3.3%.

Industry perspective

In January, employment in educational services declined by 31,000. Despite this loss, employment in the industry was up 3.7% from 12 months earlier.

In manufacturing, the number of workers was down 22,000, bringing employment in the industry back to a level similar to that of 12 months earlier.

The number of construction workers increased for the second consecutive month, up 17,000 in January. With this increase, year-over-year employment gains were 2.6% for the industry.

Employment in public administration rose 15,000, offsetting a decline in the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the industry was little changed.

Employment down among people aged 25 to 54

Following gains over the previous four months, employment in January declined by 58,000 among people aged 25 to 54 (core-age group), predominantly men. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among people of core working-age rose 0.9%.

In January, employment increased by 22,000 among people aged 55 and over, mostly men. Year-over-year employment gains for people aged 55 and over were 5.2%, partly a result of population ageing.

Employment edged up among youths aged 15 to 24. The unemployment rate for this group fell 0.6 percentage points to 13.5%.

Note to readers

Each year, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) revises its estimates for the previous three years, using the latest seasonal factors. These revised estimates became available in CANSIM on February 1, 2013 (tables 282-0087 to 282-0089, 282-0092 to 282-0094, 282-0100, 282-0116 and 282-0117).

The LFS estimates are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. As a result, monthly estimates will show more variability than trends observed over longer time periods. Estimates for smaller geographic areas or industries also have more variability. For an explanation of sampling variability of estimates and how to use standard errors to assess this variability, consult the 'Estimates quality' section of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X).

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).

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted estimates, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

Available in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table282-0001 to 282-0042, CANSIM table282-0047 to 282-0051, CANSIM table282-0054, CANSIM table282-0055, CANSIM table282-0060 to 282-0063, CANSIM table282-0069 to 282-0089, CANSIM table282-0092 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), is now available online for the week ending January 19. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour.

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

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on March 8.

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact May Roos (613-951-6014; or Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118;, Labour Statistics Division.