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Labour Force Survey, October 2018

Released: 2018-11-02

Employment was little changed in October. The unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 5.8% as fewer people searched for work. Since November 2017, the unemployment rate has ranged from 5.8% to 6.0%.

In the 12 months to October, the number of employed people grew by 206,000 or 1.1%, with the bulk of the gains in full-time work (+173,000). Over the same period, total hours worked rose by 0.7%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment
Employment

Highlights

Employment rose slightly in Saskatchewan, while there was little change in all other provinces.

More people were employed in business, building and other support services; wholesale and retail trade; and health care and social assistance. In contrast, there were fewer workers in "other services;" finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing; and natural resources.

There were fewer public sector employees in October, while there was little change in the number of private sector employees and the self-employed.

In October, employment increased for men in the core working ages of 25 to 54, and women aged 55 and over. On the other hand, there were fewer employed youths aged 15 to 24.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate

Employment up slightly in Saskatchewan and steady in all other provinces

In Saskatchewan, employment rose by 2,500 in October and the unemployment rate was 6.2%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up by 9,600 (+1.7%).

While employment was little changed in Ontario, there were fewer people looking for work, lowering the unemployment rate to 5.6% (-0.3 percentage points). On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province rose by 83,000 (+1.2%), due to more full-time work.

Employment in Quebec was little changed on both a monthly and year-over-year basis. The unemployment rate was 5.2% in October, little changed from the previous month.

In British Columbia, employment held steady in October, following a notable increase the month before. At 4.1% in October, the unemployment rate was the lowest among the provinces. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 48,000 (+2.0%).

In Alberta, employment held steady and the unemployment rate was 7.3%, up 0.3 percentage points. Looking at longer term trends, total employment in the province has been increasing since the summer of 2016. Since May 2018, unemployment has risen, driven by more men looking for work.

Industry perspective

In October, employment increased by 22,000 in business, building and other support services, bringing year-over-year gains in the industry to 43,000 (+5.7%).

The number of employed people in wholesale and retail trade increased by 19,000 in October, mainly in Quebec. Despite more people working in October, employment in the industry has trended down since the start of the year to about the same level as October 2017.

Employment also increased in health care and social assistance, up 15,000 in October, contributing to year-over-year gains totalling 37,000 (+1.6%).

On the other hand, there were 17,000 fewer people working in "other services" in October, the first notable decline in six months. "Other services" includes services such as those related to civic and professional organizations; repair and maintenance; and private households. In the 12 months to October, overall employment in the industry was little changed.

Employment in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing declined by 15,000 in October, offsetting an increase the month before. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the industry was little changed.

Employment also declined in natural resources in October (-7,100), affecting mainly Ontario and Quebec. Despite fewer people working in October, employment in the industry at the national level has trended up since the summer of 2016, with Alberta leading the increase.

In October, employment decreased by 31,000 among public sector workers, the second decline in three months. The number of private sector employees was little changed in October, following a notable increase the previous month. There was little change in the number of self-employed in October.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of private sector employees increased by 133,000 (+1.1%) and employment in the public sector rose by 55,000 (+1.5%). Over the same period, there was little change among self-employed workers.

More core-aged workers

Employment among people in the core-aged group (25 to 54) rose by 31,000 in October, led by gains among men (+18,000). The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 4.9% for core-aged men and was unchanged at 5.0% for core-aged women. On a year-over-year basis, employment for core-aged workers increased by 169,000 (+1.4%) with gains equally distributed between men and women.

The number of workers aged 55 and over rose by 19,000 in October, the result of more employed women in this age category. The unemployment rate for all workers aged 55 and over fell by 0.3 percentage points to 4.9%. Compared with October 2017, the number of workers aged 55 and over increased by 72,000 (+1.8%), mostly due to gains at the end of 2017.

In October, employment for youths aged 15 to 24 fell by 39,000, nearly all in part-time work. The unemployment rate for this age group was unchanged at 11.0% as fewer youths participated in the labour market (-45,000 or -1.6%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of working youths fell by 35,000 (-1.4%), mostly in Ontario.













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 October are for the week of October 7 to 13.

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 December 7.

In the coming months, the LFS Daily will be enhanced to make greater use of data visualisation.

Products

Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X) is now available for the week ending October 13.

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 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.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free: 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; vincent.ferrao@canada.ca), Martha Patterson (613-299-3942; martha.patterson@canada.ca), or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788; statcan.labour-travail.statcan@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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