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Labour Force Survey, January 2015

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Released: 2015-02-06

Employment increased by 35,000 in January, the result of more part-time work. The unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 6.6%.

In the 12 months to January, employment increased by 128,000 (+0.7%) with most of the growth in the second half of the period.

In January, part-time employment increased by 47,000 and full time was little changed.

Compared with January 2014, full-time employment rose by 108,000 (+0.8%), while there was little change in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked was up slightly (+0.3%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment - Description and data table

Chart 1: Employment - Description and data table

In January, employment increased among women aged 55 and over, while there was little change in the other demographic groups.

Provincially, employment rose in Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in January. At the same time, there was a decline in Saskatchewan.

There were more people working in professional, scientific and technical services in January, while employment declined in natural resources.

The number of self-employed workers increased in January and there was little change in the number of private and public sector employees.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate - Description and data table
Unemployment rate

Chart 2: Unemployment rate - Description and data table

More employed women aged 55 and older

There were 19,000 more women aged 55 and older working in January and their unemployment rate edged down to 4.8%. Employment for men in the same age group was little changed. However, their unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 6.2% as more of them were searching for work.

While youth employment was unchanged in January, their unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 12.8% as fewer youths looked for work.

There was little employment change in January for men and women aged 25 to 54 and their unemployment rates remained at 5.6% and 5.3%, respectively.

In the 12 months to January, employment growth was driven by gains among men 25 and older (+79,000) and youths (+30,000).

Provincial summary

In Quebec, employment increased by 16,000 in January, the first notable gain since March 2014. In the 12 months to January 2015, overall employment in the province was virtually unchanged. The unemployment rate was 7.4% in January.

Employment in Alberta rose by 14,000 in January, bringing gains over the past 12 months to 67,000 or 3.0%, the fastest growth rate among the provinces. Year-over-year employment gains in Alberta were in health care and social assistance as well as in transportation and warehousing, while there was a decrease in retail and wholesale trade. Employment in natural resources was little changed on a year-over-year basis, but it was down 13,000 (-7.2%) from the most recent peak in September 2014. The unemployment rate in the province was 4.5% in January.

In January, employment increased by 3,400 in New Brunswick. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.0% as more people participated in the labour market. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was unchanged.

Employment in January was also up in Prince Edward Island (+1,000) and the unemployment rate declined 0.9 percentage points to 10.2%.

In Saskatchewan, employment decreased by 8,400 in January and the unemployment rate increased 0.8 percentage points to 4.5%. Despite fewer people working in January, employment was unchanged compared with 12 months earlier.

Employment in the remaining provinces was little changed between December and January.

Industry perspective

The number of people employed in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 22,000 in January, the first notable increase since July 2013.

Employment in natural resources fell by 8,800 in January and was little changed from 12 months earlier.

The number of self-employed increased by 41,000 in January. Compared with January 2014, employment for this group of workers rose by 59,000 or 2.2%.

For public and private sector employees, employment was little changed for both January and on a year-over-year basis.

  Note to readers

A standard revision has been applied to Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, as announced in The Daily on January 28, 2015. Beginning with this release, historical comparisons of estimates produced by the LFS must be made with revised historical data. For more information, see the publication "The 2015 Revisions of the Labour Force Survey (LFS)" which is available as part of the Improvements to the Labour Force Survey series (Catalogue number71F0031X).

The LFS estimates for January are for the week of January 11 to 17.

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. For more information, see "Interpreting Monthly Changes in Employment from the Labour Force Survey." 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 "Data quality" section of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X).

This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.

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, youths 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).

Seasonal adjustment

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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Sample redesign

Every 10 years, the LFS undergoes a sample redesign to reflect changes in population and labour market characteristics, as well as new definitions of geographical boundaries. The redesigned sample was introduced starting in January 2015 and will be fully implemented by June 2015.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending January 17. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects then Labour.

Summary tables are 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 13.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; or Andrew Fields (613-951-3551;, Labour Statistics Division.

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