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Labour Force Survey, September 2016

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Released: 2016-10-07

Employment rose by 67,000 (+0.4%) in September, with most of the increase in part-time work. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.0%, as more people participated in the labour market.

In the third quarter of 2016, employment gains totalled 62,000 (+0.3%). This followed little change in employment in the second quarter and a slight increase of 33,000 (+0.2%) in the first quarter.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment rose by 139,000 (+0.8%), with most of the gains in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked edged up 0.2%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment

In September, there were more employed people aged 55 and older. At the same time, there was little change in employment among both the 15-to-24 and 25-to-54 age groups.

Provincially, employment rose in Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick. There was little change in the other provinces.

In September, more people worked in public administration, educational services, and transportation and warehousing. At the same time, employment declined in health care and social assistance.

Self-employment increased in September, while there was little change in the number of private and public sector employees.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate

Demographic overview

Among women aged 55 and older, employment grew by 38,000 in September. However, their unemployment rate was little changed at 5.3%, as their participation in the labour market also increased. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among women aged 55 and older was up by 122,000 (+7.5%) and their population rose by 156,000 (+2.9%).

There were 19,000 more men aged 55 and older working in September. At the same time, their unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 6.7%, as more men in this age group searched for work. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among men aged 55 and older rose by 49,000 (+2.4%) and their population increased by 154,000 (+3.1%).

Employment among both men and women aged 25 to 54 held steady in September. Among this age group, the unemployment rates were essentially unchanged at 6.5% for men and 5.3% for women. On a year-over-year basis, employment for men and women aged 25 to 54 was little changed, while their population rose by 48,000 (+0.3%).

In September, employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was little changed and their unemployment rate remained at 13.2%. The unemployment rate for this group was essentially unchanged compared with 12 months earlier. Over the same period, fewer youths were working (-35,000 or -1.4%) and their population was down by 47,000 (-1.1%).

Provincial summary

In Quebec, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 38,000 in September. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.9%, the lowest since the start of 2008. Compared with September 2015, employment in the province was up by 61,000 (+1.5%).

Employment in Alberta increased by 13,000 in September. The unemployment rate was little changed at 8.5%, as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier, there were 47,000 (-2.0%) fewer people employed in the province and the unemployment rate was up 1.9 percentage points.

In New Brunswick, employment rose by 4,400 in September, and the unemployment rate was 9.3%. Employment in the province has been on an upward trend since the spring, following losses from October to March.

Employment in Ontario was little changed in September, and the unemployment rate was 6.6%. However, on a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 82,000 (+1.2%) and the unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points.

In British Columbia, employment was essentially unchanged for the second consecutive month. At 5.7% in September, the unemployment rate remained the lowest among the provinces. On a year-over-year basis, employment in British Columbia increased by 62,000 or 2.6%, the fastest growth rate among the provinces.

Quarterly update for the territories

The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information on the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages.

In the third quarter of 2016, employment in Yukon was essentially unchanged compared with the second quarter. The unemployment rate increased 1.7 percentage points to 6.9% in the third quarter, as more people searched for work.

Employment in the Northwest Territories edged down (-500) from the second quarter to the third quarter. Over the same period, the unemployment rate fell 1.4 percentage points to 6.6%, as fewer people searched for work.

In Nunavut, employment held steady in the third quarter compared with the second quarter. Over the same period, the unemployment rate was little changed at 14.5%.

Industry perspective

Employment in public administration increased for the second consecutive month, up 19,000 in September, with gains in federal, provincial and territorial public administration. On a year-over-year basis, employment in public administration was up by 22,000 (+2.4%).

In September, employment in educational services rose by 17,000. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the industry increased by 25,000 (+2.0%).

There were also more people employed in transportation and warehousing (+8,300) in September. However, there was little change compared with 12 months earlier.

In contrast, there were fewer people working in health care and social assistance (-14,000) in September. Despite this decline, employment in the industry was up by 33,000 (+1.4%) compared with September 2015.

The number of self-employed workers rose by 50,000 in September. Most of the increase was in health care and social assistance, followed by professional, scientific and technical services. On year-over-year basis, there was little change overall in the number of self-employed.

The number of employees was little changed in both the private and public sectors in September. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private sector employees increased by 106,000 (+0.9%), while public sector employment was little changed.

  Note to readers

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for September are for the week of September 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 the 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.

Data for the Fort McMurray area

As a result of the wildfire affecting northern Alberta, LFS data for the census agglomeration of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, were not collected from May to July 2016. Collection resumed in Wood Buffalo in August. Data for this area are reflected in the national and Alberta estimates published in August and September. Separate estimates for the economic region of Wood Buffalo–Cold Lake, which are published as three-month moving averages, are not available for June to September 2016.

Next release

The next release of the LFS will be on November 4.


A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending September 17. 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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