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Labour Force Survey, November 2017

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Released: 2017-12-01

Employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 80,000 in November. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.9%, the lowest rate since February 2008.

In the 12 months to November, employment was up by 390,000 (+2.1%), with all the gains attributable to full-time work (+441,000 or +3.0%) as part-time employment was down slightly. Over the same period, total hours worked grew by 1.0%.

The unemployment rate trended downwards in the 12 months to November, falling 0.9 percentage points over this period.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate


In November, employment increased for women 55 and older, for youth aged 15 to 24, and for core-aged men (25 to 54). There was little change for the other demographic groups.

Employment rose in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. At the same time, fewer people were employed in New Brunswick, while there was little change in the other provinces.

A number of goods- and services-producing industries recorded employment gains: wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, educational services, and construction. On the other hand, a decrease was observed in agriculture.

The employment increase in November was largely among private sector employees, as both public sector employment and the number of self-employed were little changed.

Employment gains for older women, youth and core-aged men

In November, employment for women aged 55 and older rose by 32,000, and their unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 4.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment for older women was up 94,000 (+5.4%). For men aged 55 and older, employment held steady and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2%. In the 12 months to November, employment for older men was up 81,000 (+3.9%).

Among workers aged 55 and older, 8 out of 10 were between the ages of 55 and 64. Their estimated year-over-year rate of employment growth (unadjusted for seasonality) was 4.1%, twice the rate of their population growth (+2.0%). In comparison, people aged 65 and older comprised a smaller share of older workers, but their proportion has been increasing over the past decade. This group had the fastest year-over-year rate of employment growth among the major demographic groups in November, rising 8.1% and outpacing their rate of population growth (+3.7%). For more information about recent trends among older workers, see Labour in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census and "The impact of aging on labour market participation rates."

Employment for youth aged 15 to 24 increased for the second consecutive month, up 30,000 in November, bringing year-over-year gains up to 50,000 (+2.0%). In November, the youth employment rate (share of the 15- to 24-year-old population that was working) rose by 0.7 percentage points to 57.3%—continuing an upward trend that began in mid-2016. The youth unemployment rate was little changed in November at 10.8%, well below the rate of 12.9% recorded 12 months earlier.

Employment also increased for core-aged men, up 27,000 in November. With more of them working and fewer searching for work, their unemployment rate fell by 0.6 percentage points to 5.0%—the lowest rate since May 2008. In the 12 months to November, employment for men aged 25 to 54 was up 81,000 (+1.3%).

Ontario leading employment growth

The lion's share of national employment growth in November was recorded in Ontario, with 44,000 more people employed, mostly in wholesale and retail trade as well as in manufacturing. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.5%, the lowest rate since July 2000. Ontario has seen a downward trend in the unemployment rate since the start of 2016. Year-over-year employment gains in the province totalled 181,000 (+2.6%), all in full-time work.

In British Columbia, 18,000 more people were employed in November, bringing year-over-year gains to 92,000 (+3.8%), mostly in full-time work. The unemployment rate was 4.8% in November, little changed from the previous month, though still the lowest among the provinces.

Employment in Quebec grew for the second consecutive month, up 16,000 in November. Most of the increase was in manufacturing and construction. With more people employed and fewer searching for work, the unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to 5.4%, continuing a notable downward trend that began at the start of 2016. The November unemployment rate in Quebec was also the lowest recorded since January 1976—when comparable data became available. In the 12 months to November, employment gains in the province totalled 78,000 (+1.9%), all in full-time work.

In Prince Edward Island, 1,400 more people were employed in November, reducing the unemployment rate to a record low of 8.8% (-1.5 percentage points). In the 12 months to November, employment gains in the province totalled 2,500 (+3.5%).

Following gains in October, employment in New Brunswick fell by 2,700 in November, all in part-time work. The unemployment rate increased 0.5 percentage points to 8.3%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was little changed.

Employment in Alberta held steady in November, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.3% as fewer people looked for work. Year-over-year employment growth in the province totalled 34,000 (+1.5%), all in full-time work.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Unemployment rate by province, November 2017
Unemployment rate by province, November 2017

Employment gains in both goods- and service-producing sectors

In November, 39,000 more people were employed in wholesale and retail trade, offsetting the decrease in October. In the 12 months to November, employment in this industry was up by 82,000 (+3.0%).

Employment in manufacturing increased by 30,000, bringing year-over-year gains to 91,000 (+5.4%). Employment in this industry has been trending up since the start of 2017. Growth in the 12 months to November was spread across several subsectors such as electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing as well as printing and related support activities.

In educational services, employment rose by 21,000 in November but was little changed from 12 months earlier.

Employment in construction increased for the second consecutive month, up 16,000 in November. This brings year-over-year gains to 50,000 (+3.6%). Employment in this industry has been trending up since the summer of 2017.

On the other hand, the number of people employed in agriculture decreased by 5,800, offsetting an increase the previous month. After trending downwards since the autumn of 2013, employment in agriculture has been virtually unchanged since the spring of 2017.

The number of private sector employees increased by 72,000 in November, while both public sector employment and the number of self-employed were little changed. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private sector employees rose by 218,000 (+1.8%), while public sector employment rose by 88,000 (+2.4%) and self-employment was up by 85,000 (+3.1%).

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

Evolution of average usual hours worked

The number of hours that Canadians work in an average week has declined over time. In fact, one of the catalysts that led to the legalization of trade unions in 1872 was a strike by workers seeking to shorten the work day to 9 hours. In 1927, the average work week of tradespersons in major cities varied from 44 to 60 hours, and by 1945 the standard work week ranged from 40 to 50 hours.

More recent data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that work hours have continued to decline over the last four decades. Among core-aged workers (25 to 54), the usual weekly hours worked at all jobs decreased from 40.4 hours in 1976 to 38.4 in 2016. This coincides with the increase in part-time employment over the same period, as described in the Canada 150 text box of the October 2017 LFS release. For more information, see also "Paid and unpaid work over three generations."

While women continue to work fewer paid hours than men, the difference has narrowed over time, mostly as a result of declines in men's work hours. In 1976, men usually worked 9.1 more hours per week than women. By 2016, this gap had decreased to 5.4 hours per week, as women's weekly work hours rose by 1.1 to 35.6 and men's hours fell by 2.6 to 41.0.

Mothers usually work fewer paid hours per week than women without children, while fathers have higher weekly work hours than men without children. These differences have narrowed over the last four decades, particularly among women.

In 2016, the gap in work hours between women with and without children in the home (1.5 hours) was less than half that observed in 1976, primarily due to the increase in work hours of mothers. Among men, the gap decreased by about 30 minutes to 1.4 hours.

Sources: CANSIM table 282-0016; LFS custom tabulations; Standard or normal hours of labour per week in selected cities, 1945 and Wages and hours of labour, by selected trades in selected cities of Canada, 1927, Canada Year Book Historical Collection, Statistics Canada; and History of Labour in Canada. Canadian Labour Congress, 2015.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Average usual weekly work hours of people aged 25 to 54, by sex and presence of children in the household, Canada, 1976 to 2016
Average usual weekly work hours of people aged 25 to 54, by sex and presence of children in the household, Canada, 1976 to 2016

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The Labour Force Survey is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goals:

  Note to readers

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for November are for the week of November 5 to 11.

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 Employment, Payrolls 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 people as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).

The participation rate is the number of employed and unemployed people as a percentage of the population.

Full-time employment consists of persons who usually work 30 hours or more per week at their main or only job.

Part-time employment consists of persons who usually work less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job.

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 January 5, 2018.


A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending November 11.

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).

The updated Labour Market Indicators dashboard (Catalogue number71-607-X) is now available. This new, interactive dashboard provides easy, customizable access to key labour market indicators. Users can now configure an interactive map and chart showing labour force characteristics at the national, provincial or census metropolitan area level.

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, Gordon Song (613-793-2392;, Andrew Fields (613-951-3551;, or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788;, Labour Statistics Division.

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