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Labour Force Survey, July 2016

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Released: 2016-08-05

After three months of little change, employment declined by 31,000 (-0.2%) in July. The unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 6.9%.

Full-time employment fell by 71,000 from June to July, while part-time work was up by 40,000.

Compared with 12 months earlier, total employment increased by 71,000 or 0.4%, with all of the growth in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked rose by 0.4%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment

In July, employment decreased among youths aged 15 to 24, while it was little changed for the other demographic groups.

Employment declined in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, and increased in British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Fewer people were employed in public administration in July, while employment in health care and social assistance increased.

The number of public sector employees fell in July, and there was little change in the number of private sector employees and self-employed workers.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate

Fewer youths working

In July, employment declined by 28,000 among those aged 15 to 24, with all of the losses in part-time work. The youth unemployment rate was 13.3%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment for this age group was down by 66,000 (-2.7%), while its population fell by 45,000 (-1.0%).

Among people aged 25 to 54, employment was little changed in July. However, for women in this age group, there were decreases in full-time employment (-39,000), which were mostly offset by gains in part-time employment (+38,000). The unemployment rate for those aged 25 to 54 was 5.9%. On a year-over-year basis, employment was little changed.

In July, employment was also little changed for men and women aged 55 and older. Compared with the same month a year earlier, employment rose by 105,000 (+6.6%) for women and 37,000 (+1.8%) for men. Employment gains for this age group were driven by population growth.

Employment losses in Ontario, gains in British Columbia

Employment in Ontario decreased by 36,000 in July, the first notable decline since September 2015. The unemployment rate in the province was unchanged at 6.4%, as fewer people participated in the labour market.

In July, employment declined by 5,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the unemployment rate increased 0.8 percentage points to 12.8%. In the 12 months to July, employment in the province fell 4,300 (-1.8%).

In British Columbia, employment rose by 12,000 in July, extending an upward trend that began in the spring of 2015. The unemployment rate in the province declined 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%, the lowest rate in the country. In the 12 months to July, employment gains in British Columbia totalled 85,000 or 3.7%, the fastest growth rate among the provinces.

Employment in New Brunswick increased by 5,000 in July, and the unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 9.7%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province grew by 6,700 (+1.9%).

In Quebec, employment was little changed, and the unemployment rate held steady at 7.0%. Employment levels in the province have been relatively stable since the summer of 2015.

For a second consecutive month, employment in Alberta was essentially unchanged. However, with more people searching for work, the unemployment rate in the province rose 0.7 percentage points to 8.6%, the highest rate since September 1994. In the 12 months to July, employment in Alberta fell by 49,000 (-2.1%), with losses in full-time employment totalling 104,000 (-5.4%). Over the same period, the unemployment rate was up 2.4 percentage points.

Industry perspective

Employment in public administration decreased by 24,000 in July, with most of the declines at the local, municipal and regional level. On a year-over-year basis, employment in public administration was unchanged.

There were 28,000 more people employed in health care and social assistance in July, bringing year-over-year gains to 64,000 (+2.8%). The monthly increase occurred primarily in Quebec and British Columbia.

Public sector employment fell by 42,000 in July, while there was little change among private sector employees and self-employed workers. The public sector includes all employees in public administration, most employees in utilities, and some employees in education, health care and social assistance, transportation and warehousing, and other industries.

Compared with 12 months earlier, public sector employment edged down 40,000 (-1.1%), while the number of private sector employees increased by 103,000 (+0.9%). Over the same period, the number of self-employed workers was little changed.

Summer employment for students

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) collects labour market data on youths aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and who intend to return full time in the fall. Published data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made on a year-over-year basis.

Employment among students aged 20 to 24 was essentially unchanged compared with 12 months earlier, and their unemployment rate was 8.1%, similar to the rate in July 2015.

For students aged 17 to 19, employment edged down 17,000 compared with July 2015, with nearly all of the losses in full-time work. The unemployment rate was 17.3%, little changed compared with 12 months earlier.

For 15- and 16-year-olds, employment held steady compared with July 2015. The unemployment rate, at 30.3%, was virtually unchanged compared with 12 months earlier.

Impact of the wildfire in the Fort McMurray area on Labour Force Survey collection and estimates

As a result of the wildfire affecting northern Alberta, which led to the evacuation of residents from the Fort McMurray area, LFS data for the census agglomeration of Wood Buffalo were not collected from May to July.

Using standard statistical techniques, missing data for Wood Buffalo were replaced by substituted values taken from similar respondents from surrounding areas.

The population of Wood Buffalo represents 2% of the population of Alberta. Therefore, the impact of this interruption in data collection is minimal on provincial estimates and negligible on national estimates.

The impact is larger for sub-provincial areas, specifically for the economic region of Wood Buffalo–Cold Lake, where approximately 60% of the population are residents of Wood Buffalo. As a result, separate estimates for this economic region—which are normally available in the form of three-month moving averages—will not be published for June or July.

Regular LFS collection in all other areas of Canada was unaffected and occurred from Sunday, July 17 to Tuesday, July 26. The LFS reference week for July was from Sunday, July 10 to Saturday, July 16.

Statistics Canada is aware of the ongoing difficult circumstances affecting residents of the Fort McMurray area. The decision to resume collection for the LFS in Fort McMurray will be taken in collaboration with Alberta provincial and local governments.

  Note to readers

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for July are for the week of July 10 to 16.

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 LFS estimates are the first in a series of labour market indicators released by Statistics Canada, which includes indicators from programs such as the Survey of Payroll Employment, Earnings and Hours (SEPH), Employment Insurance statistics, and the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey. For more information on the conceptual differences between employment measures from the LFS and SEPH, refer to section 8 of the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G).

The employment rate is the number of employed people as a percentage of the population aged 15 and older. 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 of 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.

Seasonal adjustment

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted estimates, which facilitate comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Chart 1 shows trend-cycle data on employment. These data represent a smoothed version of the seasonally adjusted time series, which provides information on longer-term movements, including changes in direction underlying the series. These data are available in CANSIM table 282-0087 for the national level employment series. For more information, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Next release

The next release of the LFS will be on September 9.


A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending July 16. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour.

More information about the concepts and use of the Labour Force Survey is available online in the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

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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