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Labour Force Survey, August 2018

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Released: 2018-09-07

Following two months of increases, employment fell by 52,000 in August. Part-time employment declined by 92,000 while full-time employment edged up. At the same time, the unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 6.0%.

On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 172,000 or 0.9%. Full-time employment increased (+326,000 or +2.2%), while the number of people working part-time declined (-154,000 or -4.3%). Over the same period, total hours worked were up 1.6%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment


Employment declined in Ontario and increased in Alberta and Manitoba. Employment was little changed in the other provinces.

In August, employment decreased in professional, scientific and technical services; wholesale and retail trade; and construction. At the same time, employment was up in business, building and other support services.

Public sector employment fell, while the number of private sector employees and self-employed workers was little changed.

Employment fell for both women and men aged 55 and over, while it was little changed for the other demographic groups.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate

Employment down in Ontario, up in Alberta and Manitoba

After two consecutive monthly increases, employment in Ontario fell by 80,000 in August. On a year-over-year basis, employment increased by 79,000 (+1.1%). The Ontario unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points in August, to 5.7%.

In Ontario, full-time employment held steady compared with the previous month, with year-over-year gains totalling 172,000 (+3.0%). Part-time employment fell by 80,000 in August, following a similar increase in July. In the 12 months to August, part-time work decreased by 93,000 (-6.7%).

In general, monthly changes in part-time employment can be the result of a number of factors, including movements between part-time and full-time work, movement of younger and older workers in and out of the labour force, changes in employment in industries where part-time work is more common, and slight deviations from typical seasonal patterns.

Employment in Alberta increased by 16,000, and the unemployment rate remained at 6.7% as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with August 2017, employment grew by 53,000 (+2.3%), mostly in full-time work.

In Manitoba, employment rose by 2,600, driven by gains in part-time work, and the unemployment rate was 5.8%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was unchanged, while the unemployment rate increased 0.8 percentage points as more people looked for work.

In British Columbia, employment edged up and the unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 5.3% as more people searched for work. Compared with a year earlier, employment was virtually unchanged.

Employment in Quebec was virtually unchanged and the unemployment rate remained at 5.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment was little changed as decreases in part-time work offset gains in full-time work.

Industry perspective

In August, employment fell by 22,000 in professional, scientific and technical services, largely in Ontario. On a year-over-year basis, employment was little changed in this industry at the national level.

The number of people working in wholesale and retail trade declined by 20,000, driven by Quebec and Ontario. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry fell by 51,000 (-1.8%).

In construction, employment decreased by 16,000. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was little changed.

On the other hand, employment in business, building and other support services increased by 10,000, bringing year-over-year gains to 26,000 (+3.4%).

Employment for public sector employees fell by 38,000 (-1.0%) while there was little change among employees in the private sector. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of public sector employees rose by 102,000 (+2.7%). At the same time, there was little change for private sector employees.

Employment for self-employed workers was little changed both on a month-to-month and a year-over-year basis.

Employment decreases for those aged 55 and over

In August, the overall decline in employment was driven by people aged 55 and over. Employment among men in this age group fell by 22,000 (-1.0%) and their unemployment rate was 5.6%. For women in this age group, employment declined by 28,000 (-1.5%) while their unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 4.8%. On a year-over-year basis, employment for those aged 55 and over rose 56,000 (+1.4%).

Employment was little changed for people in the core-aged group (25 to 54). Their unemployment rate was up 0.2 percentage points to 5.2% as more people looked for work. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this age group increased by 97,000, mostly among women.

Among 15- to 24-year-olds, employment and the unemployment rate were little changed in August compared with the previous month as well as with 12 months earlier. On both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis, increases in full-time work were offset by declines in part-time work.

Summer employment for students

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

For returning students aged 15 to 24, average employment for the summer (that is, from May to August) was little changed compared with the summer of 2017. Their unemployment rate was 13.4%, down 0.9 percentage points compared with the summer of 2017. Over the same period, their average employment rate was little changed at 50.4%.

Among returning students aged 17 to 19, average employment fell by 39,000 (-7.7%) compared with the summer of 2017, when employment was relatively high for this group. Their employment rate declined 2.3 percentage points to 55.0%, while their unemployment rate was little changed at 13.2%.

In the summer of 2018, average employment for returning students aged 15 to 16 increased by 24,000 (+12.8%) compared with one year earlier. The average unemployment rate for this group of students fell 4.2 percentage points to 22.7%, the lowest rate since the summer of 2008. Their employment rate was 29.5%, up from 26.2% the previous summer.

Among 20- to 24-year-old returning students, average employment was little changed in the summer of 2018. Likewise, both their unemployment rate (9.0%) and employment rate (64.4%) remained steady compared with the summer of 2017.

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 August are for the week of August 12 to 18.

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 for the national and provincial employment series in table 14-10-0287-01 and for national employment by industry in table 14-10-0355-01. 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 October 5.


Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending August 18.

More information about the concepts and use of the Labour Force Survey is available online in an updated version of the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G).

The product Labour Market Indicators, by census metropolitan area, seasonally adjusted (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.

The article "Recent trend in Canada's labour market: A rising tide or a passing wave?" is available online in the Labour Statistics at a Glance series (Catalogue number71-222-X).

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, Marton Lovei (613-240-3623;, Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750;, or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788;, Labour Statistics Division.

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