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Labour Force Survey, July 2019

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Released: 2019-08-09

Employment was little changed for the third consecutive month in July. The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.7% as more people searched for work.

Compared with July 2018, employment was up by 353,000 (+1.9%), driven by gains in full-time work (+326,000 or +2.2%). Over the same period, hours worked increased by 0.7%.

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

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate
Unemployment rate


While employment was little changed overall in July, it decreased in Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and increased in Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Employment held steady in the other provinces.

There were fewer people working in wholesale and retail trade; transportation and warehousing; "other services"; and natural resources. In contrast, employment increased in construction and public administration.

The number of private sector employees fell in July, while self-employment rose.

Employment declined in July both for youth aged 15 to 24 and for women in the core working ages of 25 to 54, while it increased for core-aged men.

Provincial overview

Following an increase in June, employment in Alberta declined by 14,000 in July, all in full-time work. Employment decreased notably in accommodation and food services as well as in natural resources. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 7.0%. Compared with July 2018, employment in the province was little changed.

In Nova Scotia, employment fell by 6,200 in July, driven by decreases in part-time work. The unemployment rate increased by 0.8 percentage points to 7.4%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up 8,400 (+1.9%).

Employment in New Brunswick decreased by 4,800 in July, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.7 percentage points to 8.5%. Employment in the province held steady compared with 12 months earlier.

Following two months of little change, employment in Quebec rose by 17,000 in July, with notable increases in manufacturing and construction. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9% as more people participated in the labour market. Year over year, employment in Quebec increased by 96,000 (+2.3%).

Employment in Prince Edward Island increased by an estimated 1,000 in July, and the unemployment rate fell 0.9 percentage points to 8.4%. Compared with July 2018, employment in the province grew by 2,200 (+2.9%).

In Ontario, employment was little changed for the second consecutive month in July, as gains in full-time work were offset by losses in part-time work. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 5.7% as more people searched for work. Employment in Ontario was up 118,000 (+1.6%) from 12 months earlier.

Employment in British Columbia held steady for the second consecutive month in July. The unemployment rate was also little changed at 4.4%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province rose by 94,000 (+3.8%).

Industry overview

Employment in wholesale and retail trade declined for the second consecutive month, down by 21,000 in July. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry grew by 48,000 (+1.7%).

Following two months of increases, employment in transportation and warehousing fell by 15,000 in July. Most of the decline was in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba. Compared with July 2018, national employment in this industry rose by 54,000 (+5.5%).

Employment in the "other services" industry decreased by 11,000, the result of declines in Ontario. This industry includes services such as personal care and laundry services. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry was little changed.

In July, there were 8,700 fewer people employed in natural resources, with most of the decline in Alberta. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry decreased by 15,000 (-4.5%) at the national level.

In construction, employment grew by 25,000 in July, with notable increases in Quebec and Alberta. Compared with July 2018, employment in this industry was up 38,000 (+2.7%).

There were 9,200 more people working in public administration, driven by an increase in Ontario. On a year-over-year basis, overall employment in this industry grew by 45,000 (+4.7%), with most of the increase occurring in the first four months of 2019.

Number of private sector employees down in July, up year over year

The number of private-sector employees fell by 69,000 in July, with a notable decline in wholesale and retail trade. At the same time, the number of public-sector employees was little changed, while the number of self-employed workers increased by 28,000.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private-sector employees grew by 290,000 (+2.4%). Over the same period, self-employment increased by 67,000 (+2.3%) and public-sector employment was virtually unchanged.

Employment down for youth and core-aged women, up for core-aged men

Among youth aged 15 to 24, employment fell by 19,000 in July, and their unemployment rate rose 0.7 percentage points to 11.4%. Year over year, youth employment grew by 34,000 (+1.4%).

For women in the core working ages of 25 to 54, employment declined by 18,000, pushing their unemployment rate up by 0.2 percentage points to 4.5%. At the same time, employment for core-aged men increased by 22,000, and their unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 4.9%. In the 12 months to July, employment in this age group rose by 69,000 (+1.2%) for women and by 112,000 (+1.8%) for men.

For people aged 55 and over, employment was little changed in July and was up 138,000 (+3.4%) from 12 months earlier. Their unemployment rate was 4.9% in July.

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.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among students aged 15 to 24 increased by 51,000 (+3.9%) in July, boosted by gains in part-time work. The overall employment increase for this group of students follows a decline of a similar magnitude in July 2018. Their unemployment rate was little changed at 13.3% in July 2019 as more students in this age group searched for work.

For students aged 20 to 24, both the employment level and the unemployment rate (7.1%) were little changed compared with July 2018. Their participation rate was 74.7%, the second lowest for the month of July since comparable data have been available.

Among students aged 17 to 19, employment rose by 66,000 compared with 12 months earlier, offsetting most of the decline recorded in July 2018. Their unemployment rate was little changed at 12.6% in July 2019 as more of them were participating in the labour market. Their participation rate increased by 4.8 percentage points to 72.9%.

For 15- and 16-year-old students, employment was little changed in the 12 months to July and the unemployment rate was 26.1%.

Canada–United States comparison

Adjusted to US concepts, the unemployment rate in Canada was 4.6% in July, compared with 3.7% in the United States. Compared with 12 months earlier, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points in both Canada and the United States.

The labour force participation rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 65.5% in July, compared with 63.0% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points in Canada, while it was little changed in the United States.

The US-adjusted employment rate in Canada was 62.4% in July, compared with 60.7% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points in Canada and was little changed in the United States.

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

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 July are for the week of July 14 to 20.

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.

Total hours worked refers to the number of hours actually worked at the main job by the respondent during the reference week, including paid and unpaid hours. These hours reflect temporary decreases or increases in work hours (for example, hours lost due to illness, vacation, holidays, or weather; or more hours worked due to overtime).

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.

To align with priorities established by the Gender Results Framework, new indicators have been added to tables 14-10-0340-02, 14-10-0335-02, 14-10-0335-03 and 14-10-0327-03, detailing LFS characteristics by gender. These new indicators highlight the differences in employment characteristics between women and men, such as the wage gap by occupation, the proportion employed by occupation, and the proportion working full-time or part-time jobs.

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 September 6.


Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending July 20.

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;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; or Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750;, Centre for Labour Market Information.

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