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Labour Force Survey, January 2019

Released: 2019-02-08

The number of people employed grew by 67,000 in January, mostly among youth aged 15 to 24 and in the services-producing industries. The unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 5.8% as more people looked for work.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment
Employment

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate

On a year-over-year basis, total employment was up 327,000 or 1.8%, reflecting increases in both full-time (+166,000) and part-time (+162,000) work. Over the same period, total hours worked were up 1.2%.

Highlights

To explore the most recent results of the Labour Force Survey in an interactive format, visit the Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app.

Employment rose in six provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec. At the same time, employment declined in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while it was little changed in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

The number of people working in services-producing industries increased, led by wholesale and retail trade; professional, scientific and technical services; and public administration. At the same time, the number of workers in goods-producing industries decreased, most notably in agriculture.

Overall employment gains were entirely driven by private sector employees, while the number of self-employed decreased and the number of public sector employees was little changed.

Employment increased for both young women and men aged 15 to 24, as well as for men aged 55 and over. At the same time, employment was down for women aged 55 and over.

Overall employment increase driven by Ontario

In Ontario, the number of people employed rose by 41,000 in January, the result of an increase in full-time work. At the same time, more people looked for work (+31,000), pushing the unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 5.7%. In the 12 months to January, employment in the province grew by 2.4% or 170,000.

Employment was up 16,000 in Quebec in January, driven by younger workers. The unemployment rate in the province was little changed at 5.4%. In the 12 months to January, employment in Quebec rose by 0.9% or 38,000.

In Nova Scotia, employment increased by 6,100 compared with December 2018. The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.9%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province increased by 2.6% or 12,000, mainly the result of more full-time work.

Employment increased by 4,800 in Newfoundland and Labrador in January and the unemployment rate was little changed at 11.4%.

In Manitoba, employment was up 4,400 compared with December 2018. The unemployment rate in the province declined 0.5 percentage points to 5.5%, as fewer people looked for work.

Employment rose by 3,600 in New Brunswick, while the unemployment rate in the province was little changed at 8.2%.

In contrast, employment in Alberta declined for the second consecutive month, down 16,000 in January. Unemployment in the province was up 9,500 and the unemployment rate increased 0.4 percentage points to 6.8%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in Alberta was little changed.

In Saskatchewan, the number of employed people decreased by 2,800 and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.5%.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app

The product "Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app" is now available.

This interactive visualization application provides seasonally adjusted estimates available by province, sex, age group and industry. Historical estimates going back five years are also included for monthly employment changes and unemployment rates. The interactive application allows users to quickly and easily explore and personalize the information presented. Combine multiple provinces, sexes and age groups to create your own labour market domains of interest.

Industry perspective

In January, overall employment growth was entirely driven by services-producing industries (+99,000).

Compared with December, employment in wholesale and retail trade increased by 34,000 in January, led by Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. On a year-over-year basis, national employment was little changed in the industry.

In professional, scientific and technical services, employment rose by 29,000 in January. Most of the increase was in Quebec and Ontario. In the 12 months to January, employment at the national level in the industry increased by 5.0% or 72,000.

Employment in public administration increased by 21,000, led by gains in Ontario and Quebec. Year over year, employment in the industry was up 2.9% or 27,000.

Among the services-producing industries, only accommodation and food services saw a notable employment decline (-15,000). Compared with January 2018, employment in accommodation and food services was little changed.

Employment in the goods-producing industries decreased by 32,000 compared with December, most notably in agriculture (-8,900). On a year-over-year basis, employment in the goods-producing industries was virtually unchanged.

Employment gains entirely driven by private sector employees

In January, the number of employees increased by 112,000 in the private sector, while it was little changed in the public sector for the third consecutive month. At the same time, the number of self-employed declined by 61,000. On a trend-cycle basis, self-employment has levelled off in recent months.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of private sector employees rose by 293,000 (+2.5%), while the number of public sector employees grew by 62,000 (+1.7%). Over the same period, there was little change in the number of self-employed workers.

Employment growth led by younger workers

The number of employed youth aged 15 to 24 was up 53,000 in January, split evenly between men (+27,000) and women (+26,000). The unemployment rate was little changed for both younger women (9.6%) and younger men (12.6%). In the 12 months to January, youth employment was unchanged.

In January, employment among people aged 55 years and older was little changed, as an increase among men (+28,000) was partially offset by a decline among women (-18,000). The unemployment rate was little changed for both older women (4.7%) and older men (5.5%). On a year-over-year basis, employment for this age group increased by 2.3% or 90,000, mostly the result of gains for men (+88,000).

Canada–United States comparison

Adjusted to US concepts, the unemployment rate in Canada was 4.8% in January, compared with 4.0% in the United States. Compared with 12 months earlier, the unemployment rate was little changed in both Canada and the United States.

The labour force participation rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 65.6% in January, compared with 63.2% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points in Canada, while it was up 0.5 percentage points in the United States.

The US-adjusted employment rate in Canada was 62.5% in January, compared with 60.7% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate rose by 0.5 percentage points in the United States and 0.3 percentage points in Canada.

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

Labour market dynamics

The number of employed people and the unemployment rate are two indicators that attest to the usefulness of the Labour Force Survey data. However, it is less well-known that behind the net change in employment or unemployment published each month, there are major transitions between the different labour market statuses called "gross flows." For more information on gross flows, see "Labour market dynamics since the 2008/2009 recession."













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 January are for the week of January 13 to 19.

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).

Beginning with the January 2019 reference month, changes have been made to the systems used to support the LFS data processing. For more information, see "Transition of Labour Force Survey Data Processing to the Social Survey Processing Environment."

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 March 8.

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

Products

Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending January 19.

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 Force Survey in brief: Interactive app" (Catalogue number14200001) is now available. This interactive visualization application provides seasonally adjusted estimates available by province, sex, age group and industry. Historical estimates going back five years are also included for monthly employment changes and unemployment rates. The interactive application allows users to quickly and easily explore and personalize the information presented. Combine multiple provinces, sexes and age groups to create your own labour market domains of interest.

The product "Labour Market Indicators, by census metropolitan area, seasonally adjusted" (Catalogue number71-607-X) is also 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-X) 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 Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; emmanuelle.bourbeau@canada.ca) or Dominique Dionne-Simard (613-618-9411; dominique.dionne-simard@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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