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Labour Force Survey, April 2018

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Released: 2018-05-11

Employment was essentially unchanged in April and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%.

On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 278,000 (+1.5%). The increase was due to gains in full-time employment (+378,000 or +2.6%), while part-time work declined (-100,000 or -2.8%). In the 12 months to April, total hours worked were up 1.9%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate


The number of employed core-aged women (25 to 54) increased from March to April. At the same time, employment decreased among youth aged 15 to 24.

Among the provinces, employment rose in Manitoba and Nova Scotia, while it declined in Saskatchewan.

More people worked in professional, scientific and technical services, as well as in accommodation and food services. In contrast, employment declined in wholesale and retail trade and in construction.

The number of public and private sector employees and the number of self-employed workers were little changed in April.

Employment rises for core-aged women, decreases for youth

For the core-age population, employment rose 29,000 in April, driven by an increase among women (+20,000). The employment gains for women in this group were all in full-time work. At the same time, the unemployment rate for the core age group rose 0.1 percentage points to 4.9%. On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate was down 0.7 percentage points, and employment increased for both core-aged men (+70,000 or +1.1%) and women (+57,000 or +1.0%).

For youths aged 15 to 24, employment fell by 23,000 in April, due entirely to a drop in part-time work. Despite the decline in employment, the unemployment rate for this age group was little changed at 11.1%, as fewer youths participated in the labour market. In comparison with April 2017, youth employment was virtually unchanged. From May to August, the Labour Force Survey will be collecting 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.

Among people aged 55 and over, employment was little changed as a decline in the number of employed men was mostly offset by an increase for women. At the same time, the unemployment rate for this age group remained at 5.3%. On a year-over-year basis, employment for people aged 55 and over grew by 149,000 (+3.9%), outpacing their population growth rate (+2.9%). The employment growth was faster for women (+98,000 or +5.7%) than for men (+51,000 or +2.4%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Unemployment rate by province, April 2018
Unemployment rate by province, April 2018

Employment little changed in most provinces

In April, 4,100 more people worked in Manitoba, all in full-time employment. The unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 6.1%. Compared with April 2017, the number of employed people in the province increased by 5,900 (+0.9%).

In Nova Scotia, employment increased by 2,700 in April. The unemployment rate continued on a downward trend, falling by 0.7 percentage points to 6.7%, the lowest rate since comparable data became available in 1976. On a year-over-year basis, employment was up 8,000 (+1.8%), largely due to a strong upward trend in full-time employment that began in the autumn of 2017.

There were 4,900 fewer employed people in Saskatchewan in April, and the unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points to 6.3%. Compared with April 2017, employment was little changed in the province.

In Ontario, employment held steady in April and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province rose by 133,000 or 1.9%, all in full-time work.

In Quebec, both employment and the unemployment rate were little changed in April. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of people working in the province was up 73,000, largely as a result of growth in the second and fourth quarters of 2017. Over the same period, the unemployment rate declined by 1.0 percentage points to 5.4%.

The number of people working in British Columbia was little changed in April, as growth in full-time work was offset by a decline in part-time employment. At the same time, the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 5.0% as more people looked for work. Employment in the province has been relatively flat since June 2017, while on a year-over-year basis it was up 23,000 (+0.9%).

Industry perspective

Employment in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 21,000 in April, after trending down from November 2017 to February 2018. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the industry rose by 34,000 (+2.3%).

The number of people employed in accommodation and food services increased by 17,000 in April. Year-over-year gains were also recorded in the industry (+44,000 or +3.7%), partly due to employment being at a relatively low point in April 2017.

In wholesale and retail trade, employment fell by 22,000 in April and was little changed year over year. Employment in the industry rose steadily from October 2016 to September 2017, but has been trending down since the start of 2018.

Employment in construction was down by 19,000 in April, offsetting the gain in March. The number of people working in the industry was up 32,000 or 2.3% on a year-over-year basis, largely due to growth in the second half of 2017.

The number of employees in both the public and private sectors was little changed in April. On a year-over-year basis, there were 146,000 (+1.2%) more private sector employees, while the number of employees in the public sector grew by 75,000 (+2.0%).

Self-employment was also little changed in April. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of self-employed workers was up 58,000 (+2.1%).

Canada-United States comparison

Adjusted to US concepts, the unemployment rate in Canada was 4.9% in April, compared with 3.9% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points in both countries.

The labour force participation rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 65.3% in April, compared with 62.8% in the United States. In the 12 months to April, the participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage points in Canada, and 0.1 percentage points in the United States.

On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) and the United States was relatively stable, at 62.1% and 60.3%, respectively.

For more information on Canada–US comparisons, see "Measuring Employment and Unemployment in Canada and the United States – A comparison."

Looking for work

What are the most popular methods for advertising job vacancies? How long do people remain unemployed? Get answers to these questions and more in the infographic "Looking for work in Canada, 2017," released today in the Daily.

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 April are for the week of April 15 to 21.

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.

In general, month-to-month or year-to-year changes in the number of people employed in an age group reflect the net effect of two factors: (1) the number of people who changed employment status between reference periods; and (2) the number of employed people who entered or left the age group (including through aging, death or migration) between reference periods.

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 June 8.


A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending April 21.

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-X2017001) is available. This 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.

The product Labour Market Indicators, by province, territory and economic region, unadjusted for seasonality (Catalogue number71-607-X2017002) is also available. This dynamic web application provides access to Statistics Canada's labour market indicators for Canada, by province, territory and economic region and allows users to view a snapshot of key labour market indicators, observe geographical rankings for each indicator using an interactive map and table, and easily copy data into other programs.

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 Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007;, Vincent Hardy (613-290-3707;, or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788;, Labour Statistics Division.

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