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Labour Force Survey, November 2020

Released: 2020-12-04

November Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of November 8 to 14.

In September and October, many provinces began introducing targeted public health measures in response to rising COVID-19 numbers. In early November, restrictions related to indoor dining and fitness facilities were eased in Ontario, while in Manitoba new measures affecting restaurants, recreational facilities and retail businesses were introduced. Much of Quebec remained at the "red" alert level in November, leading to the ongoing closure of indoor dining and many recreational and cultural facilities.

Highlights

Employment growth continues to slow

Employment rose by 0.3% in November, following an increase of 0.5% in October. From May to September, employment grew by an average of 2.7% per month.

Full-time employment rose by 99,000 in November, while part-time work was little changed.

Among those who worked at least half of their usual hours, 4.6 million worked from home in November.

Growth in self-employment stalled in November and compared to public sector and private sector employees, employment in this group remained furthest from the February pre-COVID level (-4.7%; -136,000).

Total hours worked rose by 1.2% in November. Since May, total hours worked has recovered steadily as the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown has given way to more limited and targeted public health measures.

Unemployment rate continues to fall from May peak

The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 8.5% in November, continuing the steady fall from the record high 13.7% in May.

Approximately 317,000 Canadians who were unemployed in October exited the labour force in November. A higher number (372,000) transitioned from unemployment to employment.

The number of people who were on temporary layoff, or who had arrangements to begin a new job in the near future, stood at 253,000, a drop of 78.9% from April.

Following increases of 79,000 (+36.2%) in September and 151,000 (+50.7%) in October, long-term unemployment held steady in November. A total of 443,000 Canadians, or one-quarter (25.6%) of all the unemployed, had been continuously out of work for 27 weeks or more.

After surging after the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown, from 11.2% in February to 36.1% in April, the labour underutilization rate has fallen every month since May, including a 0.3 percentage point drop to 16.9% in November.

Varying labour market conditions across provinces and industries

Employment increased in six provinces: Ontario, British Columbia and in all four Atlantic provinces.

Manitoba experienced its first employment loss since April, while the number of people with a job or business held steady in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

By November, employment in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had returned to pre-COVID levels.

Following little change in October, employment growth resumed in the goods-producing sector (+44,000; +1.2%) in November, with most of the increase in construction.

For the first time since the recovery began in May, employment in the services-producing sector was little changed.

Employment in information, culture and recreation declined by 26,000 (-3.5%), the first notable decline for this industry since April.

Employment in accommodation and food services declined for the second consecutive month, falling by 24,000 (-2.4%) in November.

Employment in construction rose by 26,000 (+1.9%), the first increase since July.

After pausing in October, employment growth resumed in transportation and warehousing (+20,000; +2.1%).

In natural resources, employment rose for the second consecutive month, increasing 3.1% (+10,000) and returning to its pre-COVID level.

Employment growth also variable among demographic groups

Employment among core-aged women (25 to 54 years old) was unchanged in November after six consecutive months of growth.

Employment among core-aged men (25 to 54 years old) rose by 23,000 (+0.4%).

Employment among youth aged 15 to 24 rose 0.9% (+20,000), while the youth unemployment rate fell 1.4 percentage points to 17.4%. Employment increased among young men and was little changed for young women.

Employment among workers aged 55 and older increased by 23,000 (+0.6%) in November after holding steady in October.

Employment among Indigenous people living off-reserve was little changed from October.

Among Canadians aged 15 to 69, the unemployment rate of those designated as a visible minority decreased 1.5 percentage points to 10.2% in November. About half of the decline in unemployment among those designated as visible minorities was accounted for by South Asian Canadians (not seasonally adjusted).

Employment growth continues to slow

Employment rose by 62,000 (+0.3%) in November, following an increase of 84,000 (+0.5%) in October. From May to September, employment grew by an average of 2.7% per month.

The unemployment rate was 8.5% in November, down 0.4 percentage points from a month earlier.

Employment growth continued to vary across industries in November. Employment fell in industries most directly affected by public health restrictions, notably in accommodation and food services. On the other hand, employment continued to approach or exceed pre-COVID levels in industries where working from home or physical distancing is more feasible, such as professional, scientific and technical services.

By April, the initial widespread COVID-19 economic shutdown had directly affected 5.5 million Canadian workers, including 3.0 million who had lost employment and 2.5 million who remained employed but had experienced COVID-related absences from work. By November, the equivalent figure was 1.0 million, including a 574,000 (-3.0%) drop in employment since February and a 448,000 (+55.5%) increase since February in Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Pace of employment recovery slows
Pace of employment recovery slows

Gains in full-time work

Full-time employment rose by 99,000 (+0.7%) in November, while part-time work was little changed. Compared with pre-COVID February levels, full-time employment was down 2.9%, compared with a decrease of 3.3% for part-time work.

Among those who worked part time in November, more than one-fifth (22.6%; 808,000) wanted full-time work (30 hours or more per week) but were unable to find it. This was up 5.2 percentage points from 12 months earlier, with above-average increases among men aged 25 to 54 (up 13.2 percentage points to 46.4%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Number of Canadians working from home increases for the second consecutive month

Among those who worked at least half of their usual hours, 4.6 million Canadians worked from home in November. This was an increase of approximately 250,000 from October and included 2.5 million who do not usually work from home. Among the same group, the number of people working at locations other than home fell by approximately 100,000 to 12.2 million.

Hospitals and schools drive growth in public sector employment

The number of public sector employees grew by 32,000 (+0.8%) in November and exceeded its pre-COVID February level by 1.5%. On a year-over-year basis, the number of public sector workers was up 61,000 (+1.6%), driven mostly by increases in hospitals and elementary and secondary schools (not seasonally adjusted).

The number of private sector employees was little changed in November, but was down by 411,000 (-3.3%) compared with 12 months earlier. This decline was largest in accommodation and food services, while employment in professional, scientific and technical services increased.

Growth in self-employment stalled in November and this group remained furthest from November 2019 (-4.5%; -131,000) and from the February pre-COVID level (-4.7%; -136,000).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Increased employment in hospitals and schools drives public sector employment over pre-COVID level
Increased employment in hospitals and schools drives public sector employment over pre-COVID level

Total hours worked continue to grow

Along with employment, total hours worked across all industries is a core indicator of the state of the labour market. In general, total hours worked can be influenced by a number of factors such as employment growth, compositional change in employment by industry and occupation, and changes in absences from work.

From February to April, employment losses and COVID-related absences from work contributed to a drop of more than one-quarter (-27.7%) in the total number of hours worked across all industries. Since May, total hours worked has recovered steadily as the initial widespread COVID-19 economic shutdown has given way to more limited and targeted public health measures.

From October to November, total hours worked rose by 1.2%, continuing the recent trend. Despite this increase in the month, total hours worked was 5.0% lower than in February, with about one-quarter (27.1%) of the net deficit being in accommodation and food services. Construction, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale and retail trade also contributed notably to the February-to-November decline.

Unemployment rate continues to fall from May peak

The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 8.5% in November, continuing the steady fall from the record high 13.7% in May. The unemployment rate in February was 5.6%, just prior to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

The total number of unemployed fell 4.5% to 1.7 million November (-82,000), also continuing the downward trend from the May peak. Approximately 317,000 Canadians who were unemployed in October exited the labour force in November. A higher number (372,000) transitioned from unemployment to employment.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Unemployment rate continues to drop from May's record high
Unemployment rate continues to drop from May's record high

Unemployment rate among visible minorities falls in November

Among Canadians aged 15 to 69, the unemployment rate of those designated as a visible minority decreased 1.5 percentage points to 10.2% in November (not seasonally adjusted). In contrast, the unemployment rate among those who are not Indigenous and not a member of a group designated as a visible minority increased by 0.2 percentage points to 6.9% (not seasonally adjusted).

About half of the decline in unemployment among those designated as visible minorities was accounted for by South Asian Canadians, whose unemployment rate fell by 3.3 percentage points to 10.5%. At the same time, there were employment gains among South Asian Canadians, with the vast majority (87%) of the increase in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, and more than half (57.9%) in sales and service occupations (not seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate also fell in November among Southeast Asian Canadians (-3.8 percentage points to 8.7%), while there was little change among the other five largest groups designated as visible minorities (not seasonally adjusted).

Temporary layoffs remain high in some industries

The spike in unemployment resulting from the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown was driven partly by an unprecedented increase in the number of people on temporary layoff. This number peaked at 1.2 million in April, before falling steadily over the summer and early fall as public health measures were eased. In November, the number of people who were on temporary layoff, or who had arrangements to begin a new job in the near future, stood at 253,000, a drop of 78.9% from April.

About one-quarter (26.6%) of people on temporary layoff in November last worked in the accommodation and food services industry (not seasonally adjusted), reflecting the continuing challenges faced by this sector in adjusting to new and continuing public health measures. The wholesale and retail trade (11.8%) and manufacturing (11.6%) industries also accounted for a sizable share of those on temporary layoff. Across all industries, men in the core working age group of 25 to 54 accounted for almost 3 in 10 (28.0%; 71,000) of those on temporary layoff.

Job search strategies shift as a large number of Canadians continue to look for work

As the number of people on temporary layoff fell over the summer and early fall, the number of job searchers increased and made up an increasing share of the total unemployed. Despite a drop in the month (-39,000; -2.6%), there were 1.5 million job searchers in November, almost half a million more than in February (+448,000; +43.3%).

Nearly one in three job searchers in November (432,000; 29.1%) were men in the core working age group of 25 to 54. The most common occupations of job searchers who had worked in the past 12 months included sales and services occupations (36.6%), and occupations related to trades, transport and equipment operators (19.5%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Most of the increase in job searchers from February to November was among those in the core-age group of 25 to 54, with 135,000 (+45.3%) more men and 105,000 (+39.6%) more women looking for work. There were 154,000 (+56.3%) more youth searching for work in November than in February, with the increase split between male and female youth.

The large increase in job searchers observed since the summer highlights the importance of the various strategies used by the unemployed to make their way back to employment. In November, close to 8 in 10 job searchers (77.5%) looked at job advertisements, up 11.4 percentage points from 12 months earlier (not seasonally adjusted). The share of those looking for work who used public or private employment agencies fell 2.3 percentage points year over year to 19.0%, while the share who relied on friends or family to find job opportunities increased 6.6 percentage points to 32.4%.

Long-term unemployed face increased risk of financial difficulty

Following increases of 79,000 (+36.2%) in September and 151,000 (+50.7%) in October, long-term unemployment held steady in November. A total of 443,000 Canadians, or one-quarter (25.6%) of all the unemployed, had been continuously out of work for 27 weeks or more.

Workers who became unemployed as a result of previous economic downturns have experienced a range of long-term consequences, including long-term reduction in earnings. Those who entered into a prolonged period of joblessness in recent months are a direct reflection of the unprecedented job losses which resulted from the COVID-19 economic shutdown of March and April, and may face a unique set of short-term and long-term challenges.

In November, more than half (53.3%) of the long-term unemployed lived in a household reporting difficulty meeting necessary expenses (not seasonally adjusted). This was higher than the proportion of those with a shorter jobless spell (41.4%) and noticeably higher than the proportion (19.3%) of those who were employed or not in the labour force (not seasonally adjusted).

While core-aged people comprised the greatest share (53.9%) of long-term unemployment in November, their contribution was down 4.7 percentage points compared with 12 months earlier. People aged 55 and older, on the other hand, made up a larger share of the long-term unemployed than a year ago—26.2%, up 5.3 percentage points—suggesting that some older workers may be experiencing particular challenges in returning to employment. Youth accounted for one-fifth (20.0%) of the long-term unemployed, down 0.7 percentage points from 12 months earlier.

Labour underutilization continues to fall but remains above pre-COVID level

Since March, the labour underutilization rate—which reflects the proportion of people in the potential labour force who are either unemployed, want a job but have not looked for one, or are employed but working less than half of their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19—has served as an overall indicator of the impact of COVID-19 on labour market conditions. After surging in the wake of the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown, from 11.2% in February to 36.1% in April, the labour underutilization rate has fallen every month since May, including a 0.3 percentage point decline to 16.9% in November.

In November, job searchers accounted for 42.0% of labour underutilization, while those who wanted a job but didn't look for one and those who were on temporary layoff or had arrangements to start a job in the near future made up 15.4% and 7.1% of the total, respectively. The remaining 35.5% of labour underutilization was the result of those who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours in November.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Labour underutilization remains high as more Canadians search for jobs or work reduced hours
Labour underutilization remains high as more Canadians search for jobs or work reduced hours

Varying labour market conditions across provinces

As jurisdictions adjusted public health restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 cases, labour market conditions varied across Canada during the week of November 8 to 14. Employment increased in six provinces: Ontario, British Columbia and in all four Atlantic provinces. Manitoba experienced its first employment loss since April, while the number of people with a job or business held steady in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

By November, employment levels in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had returned to pre-COVID levels. Employment was nearest February levels in British Columbia (-1.5%) in November and farthest in Manitoba (-4.8%) and Alberta (-4.9%).

For further information on key province-level and industry-level labour market indicators, see "Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app."

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Employment furthest from pre-COVID level in Alberta and Manitoba
Employment furthest from pre-COVID level in Alberta and Manitoba

Employment growth continues to slow in Central Canada

Following average monthly employment growth of 3.1% from June to September, Ontario saw a slowing of growth in October. This continued in November, as employment rose by 37,000 (+0.5%), mostly in full-time work. Employment in the Toronto CMA was at a standstill in November after increasing for five consecutive months. The Ontario unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 9.1%.

The largest employment gain was in construction, an industry not affected by recent restrictions, while there were declines in accommodation and food services amid the tightening of public health measures in the City of Toronto and Region of Peel.

Employment in Quebec was little changed for the second consecutive month. In the Montréal CMA, employment was flat for the second consecutive month following average monthly growth of 3.8% from May to September. The Quebec unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 7.2% as fewer people were on temporary layoff.

Employment fell in accommodation and food services and information, culture and recreation, coinciding with the targeted public health measures in place since October. Employment increased in professional, scientific and technical services.

Continued employment growth in British Columbia

Just prior to the start of LFS reference week of November 8 to 14, the Vancouver Coastal Health Region and the Fraser Health Region introduced new restrictions on social gatherings, travel, and gyms and indoor sports facilities, as well as new COVID-related workplace safety requirements.

Despite these new restrictions, employment in British Columbia grew by 24,000 (+1.0%) in November, adding to the gains over the previous six months (+335,000). Gains in full-time work were partly offset by losses in part-time employment. Several industries saw increases, including accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, wholesale and retail trade, and construction. The unemployment rate fell 0.9 percentage points to 7.1%.

Employment grew (+1.2%) in the Vancouver CMA, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous two months.

More people working in Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all had employment gains in November.

Nova Scotia posted the largest employment increase among the Atlantic provinces, up 10,000 (+2.2%), continuing the upward trend since April. The increase in November was mostly in full-time work. The unemployment rate fell 2.3 percentage points to 6.4%, the lowest since March 2019 and the lowest among the provinces.

New Brunswick posted its first significant employment gain (+4,200; +1.2%) since the substantial increases in May and June. The increase in November was nearly all in full-time work and the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 9.6%.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador rose for the seventh consecutive month, up 2,300 (+1.0%) in November, and regained all of the losses sustained since February. The unemployment rate in November was little changed at 12.2%. Industries with employment losses at the start of the pandemic such as natural resources, construction and manufacturing saw small increases in subsequent months and offset the declines in March and April. Others, such as healthcare and social assistance and public administration continued to gain employment in recent months, pushing their employment above February levels.

Prince Edward Island also had more people working in November (+1,000; +1.3%) and the unemployment rate was 10.2%.

Employment losses in Manitoba

Employment in Manitoba decreased by 18,000 in November, nearly all in part-time work. This was the first notable decline since April and coincided with tighter public health measures introduced in early November for the Winnipeg metropolitan region and for the rest of the province by the time of the LFS reference week. The largest employment decrease was in accommodation and food services. The unemployment rate was little changed in November at 7.4% as fewer Manitobans participated in the labour market.

In both Saskatchewan and Alberta, there was little employment change in November. As of the LFS reference week of November 8 to November 14, both provinces had largely avoided introducing tighter public health measures. The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan increased 0.5 percentage points to 6.9%, with more people looking for work, while the Alberta unemployment rate was little changed at 11.1%.

Employment growth continues to vary across industries

Following little change in October, employment growth resumed in the goods-producing sector (+44,000; +1.2%) in November, with most of the increase in construction.

For the first time since the recovery began in May, employment in the services-producing sector was little changed in November. Employment fell in two industries—information, culture and recreation; and accommodation and food services—as these industries continued to face the headwinds of new and continuing public health measures. These losses were offset by gains in industries less directly affected by the restrictions in place as of the LFS reference week, including retail trade; transportation and warehousing; and finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing.

Employment declines in information, culture and recreation and accommodation and food services

In November, employment in information, culture and recreation declined by 26,000 (-3.5%), the first notable decline for this industry since April. Employment fell for a second consecutive month in Quebec, where restrictions on public gatherings had been notably tightened as of the LFS reference week. At the national level, employment in information, culture and recreation was 10.5% lower in November than in February.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Declines in information, culture and recreation and in accommodation and food services dampen overall employment increase
Declines in information, culture and recreation and in accommodation and food services dampen overall employment increase

Employment in accommodation and food services declined for the second consecutive month, falling by 24,000 (-2.4%) in November, with the drop being shared between Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec. Nearly 1 in 10 (8.9%) employees in accommodation and food services worked less than half their usual hours in November—the third highest share among all industries, following business, building and other support services (10.3%), and transportation and warehousing (9.2%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Infographic 3  Thumbnail for Infographic 3: Employment furthest from recovery in accommodation and food services
Employment furthest from recovery in accommodation and food services

In the face of new and continuing public health measures to control the spread of COVID-19, employers in accommodation and food services are likely to continue to face a number of challenges. From mid-September to late October, Statistics Canada conducted the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions to collect information on businesses' expectations moving forward. Almost one-quarter of businesses in accommodation and food services (22.5%) expected to reduce their number of employees over the next three months, more than double the average across all businesses (10.4%).

Second consecutive employment increase in retail trade

In retail trade, employment grew for the second consecutive month, rising 1.5% in November (+32,000), with most of the month-over-month increase in Ontario. Shutdowns of in-person shopping at non-essential retailers were introduced in Toronto and Peel on November 23, after the LFS reference week, and may be reflected in the December LFS results. December results may also shed light on the effect of tighter restrictions in other provinces such as Manitoba and Alberta.

At the national level, the employment increase in November brought retail trade to within 3.7% of its pre-COVID employment level.

Employment growth resumes for construction and transportation and warehousing

Employment in construction rose by 26,000 (+1.9%) in November, the first increase since July, largely due to a 5.5% (+28,000) increase in Ontario. Nationally, employment in construction was 5.7% below its February level.

After pausing in October, employment growth resumed in transportation and warehousing in November (+20,000; +2.1%). The increase was largely the result of gains in Ontario and British Columbia, bringing employment in this industry to within 6.4% of its pre-COVID level.

Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing now exceeding pre-COVID employment levels

Employment rose for the third consecutive month in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, up by 15,000 (+1.2%). The recent employment growth in this industry pushed it fully into recovery territory, surpassing its February level by 2.3%.

Employment up in natural resources for the second consecutive month

In natural resources, employment rose for the second consecutive month, rising 3.1% in November (+10,000) and returning to its pre-COVID level. The month-over-month gain was nearly equally split between Alberta and British Columbia. Data for this industry over the next few months may shed light on the impact of Alberta ending its limits on oil production in December, allowing producers to utilize available pipeline capacity and increase employment.

Employment growth stalls for core-aged women

Total employment among core-aged women (25 to 54 years old) was unchanged in November after six consecutive months of growth. Gains in full-time work (+49,000; +1.0%) were offset by losses in part-time employment (-52,000; -5.0%).Despite this lack of growth in the month, employment was closer to its pre-COVID February level among core-aged women (-1.5%) than among all other major demographic groups.

Year-over-year declines in employment by industry—which account for typical seasonal variations—were greatest in accommodation and food services; business, building and other support services; and other services. These declines were partially offset by year-over-year gains in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry, and in educational services (not seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate for core-aged women was little changed in November at 6.8%, up 2.2 percentage points compared with February.

After returning to its pre-COVID level in September, the participation rate for women in the core age group remained stable at 83.8% in November, well above the recent low of 77.8% in April.

Core-aged men see gains in part-time work

Employment among core-aged men (aged 25 to 54) rose by 23,000 (+0.4%) in November, driven entirely by an increase in part-time employment and bringing employment for this demographic group to within 1.7% of its pre-COVID level.

On a year-over-year basis, the majority of the employment declines among core-aged men occurred in construction, accommodation and food services, and transportation and warehousing.

The unemployment rate for core-aged men was 7.3% in November, down 0.3 percentage points from October but still higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 4.8% in February. After returning to pre-COVID levels in September, the labour force participation rate for core-aged men was unchanged from October at 91.6%.

Mothers continue to experience COVID-related losses in hours, despite employment returning to pre-shutdown levels

As children returned to school in August and September, attention focused on how parents were adapting to balancing work and childcare responsibilities with new school routines, whether online learning at home or returning to the classroom. Fully understanding these impacts requires a range of labour indicators available from the LFS—particularly employment and absences from work—as well as non-labour indicators from other sources.

In September, employment returned to pre-pandemic levels among both core-aged mothers and core-aged fathers of children less than 18 years old. This situation continued in November, with little year-over-year employment change in either group.

Patterns in absences from work, however, indicate that mothers may be experiencing different challenges than fathers, particularly among parents whose youngest child was under 13 years of age. On a year-over-year basis, there were 54.9% more mothers in this group working less than half their usual hours in November, compared with 41.3% more fathers (not seasonally adjusted). These absences include those related to personal circumstances, such as caring for children, as well as those related to job situation, such as reduced shifts.

In the November LFS, respondents were asked whether they had any concerns related to caring for children or other family members in the context of the ongoing pandemic. The specific nature and impact of these concerns may vary based on each family's particular childcare, schooling, and employment situation. Among core-aged parents whose youngest child was under 13 years of age, the share citing caregiving concerns was higher among job searchers (41.7%) than among those who were employed (32.9%). Mothers (35.3%) were somewhat more likely than fathers (30.0%) to cite concerns related to caregiving.

Employment farther from pre-COVID level for female youth than male counterparts

Employment among youth aged 15 to 24 rose 0.9% (+20,000) in November, while the youth unemployment rate fell 1.4 percentage points to 17.4%. Fewer youth aged 15 to 24 were in the labour force in November, as the participation rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 63.6%, with the decrease entirely among young women (-1.2 percentage points). The share of youth attending school was up 1.8 percentage points (from 62.1% to 63.9%) compared with 12 months earlier (not seasonally adjusted).

Employment increased among young men (+14,000; +1.2%) in November, with gains in full-time employment (+34,000; +5.1%) only partly offset by losses in part-time work (-19,000; -3.8%). Among female youth, in contrast, employment was little changed in the month.

The labour market impact of COVID-19 has been particularly challenging for young women, who experienced greater initial COVID-related employment losses in March and April. As of November, employment for this group remained farther (-11.0%) from pre-pandemic February levels than that of all other major demographic groups. Similarly, while the unemployment rate of young men (18.2%) remained higher than for all the major demographic groups in November, the year-over-year increase in the unemployment rate was higher for young women (+6.6 percentage points) than young men (+5.1 percentage points).

Chart 5  Chart 5: Employment farther from pre-COVID level for female youth than male counterparts
Employment farther from pre-COVID level for female youth than male counterparts

On a year-over-year basis, youth employment was down by one-third (-33.0%) in information, culture and recreation, and by one-quarter (-25.8%) in accommodation and food services in November (not seasonally adjusted). Year-over-year losses in these two industries, which typically account for about one-quarter of youth employment (25.4% in 2019), were partially offset by a gain in the construction industry, where employment was up on a year-over-year basis.

Chart 6  Chart 6: Youth unemployment rates remain high in November
Youth unemployment rates remain high in November

Employment increases for Canadians aged 55 and older

Employment among workers aged 55 and older increased by 23,000 (+0.6%) in November after holding steady in October. Gains were primarily among older women, with employment little changed for men in this age group. Nevertheless, employment for older workers remained 3.2% below February levels, with employment for older men (-2.5%) closer to pre-pandemic levels than for older women (-4.1%).

By industry, the largest year-over-year employment declines for older men were among those who worked in retail trade and construction. For women, losses were most notable in healthcare and social assistance, and the other services industry (not seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate for workers aged 55 and older decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 7.1% in November.

Employment rate among very recent immigrants remains closest to February levels

In November, the employment rate of immigrants who landed in Canada more than five years ago (58.1%) was 1.2 percentage points below its pre-COVID February level, closer than the rate for those born in Canada (59.7%), which was down 1.7 percentage points (not seasonally adjusted). For more information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant employment, see Transitions into and out of employment by immigrants during the COVID-19 lockdown and recovery.

The employment rate of very recent immigrants—those who landed in Canada in the past five years—was 65.6% in November, little changed from its pre-COVID February level (not seasonally adjusted). The labour market situation of this group has been impacted by COVID-related restrictions on international travel, which have led to a sudden reduction in new immigrants to Canada. For more information on recent changes in international migration resulting from COVID-19 public health measures, see Canada's population estimates: Age and sex, July 1, 2020.

Employment recovery stalls for Indigenous people

Employment among Indigenous people living off-reserve was little changed from October. Employment for Indigenous people remained further from February levels (-5.5%) than non-Indigenous Canadians (-1.6%). For more information, see Labour market impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous people: March to August 2020.

Looking ahead

As the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic enters a new phase—with COVID-19 caseloads increasing and the holiday season approaching—Statistics Canada remains committed to informing Canadians on the wide range of labour market challenges, faced by employers, workers and families.













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 sustainable development goals. This release will be used to help measure the following goals:

  Note to readers

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for November are for the week of November 8 to 14.

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."

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 those from the SEPH, refer to section 8 of the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G).

LFS estimates at the Canada level do not include the territories.

Since March 2020, all face-to-face interviews have been replaced by telephone interviews to protect the health of both interviewers and respondents. In addition, all telephone interviews were conducted by interviewers working from their home and none were done from Statistics Canada's call centres. As has been the case each month since June, approximately 40,000 interviews were completed in November.

The distribution of LFS interviews in November 2020 compared with October 2020, was as follows:

Telephone interviews – from interviewer homes

• October 2020: 67.8%

• November 2020: 67.5%

Online interviews

• October 2020: 32.2%

• November 2020: 32.5%

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 aged 15 and older.

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.

Supplementary indicators used in November 2020 analysis

To continue capturing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market, the supplementary indicators used in March and April were slightly adapted. Therefore, the May to November supplementary indicators are not directly comparable to the supplementary indicators published in April and March 2020.

Employed, worked zero hours includes employees and self-employed who were absent from work all week, but excludes people who have been away for reasons such as 'vacation,' 'maternity,' 'seasonal business' and 'labour dispute.'

Employed, worked less than half of their usual hours includes both employees and self-employed, where only employees were asked to provide a reason for the absence. This excludes reasons for absence such as 'vacation,' 'labour dispute,' 'maternity,' 'holiday,' and 'weather.' Also excludes those who were away all week.

Not in labour force but wanted work includes persons who were neither employed, nor unemployed during the reference period and wanted work, but did not search for reasons such as 'waiting for recall (to former job),' 'waiting for replies from employers,' 'believes no work available (in area, or suited to skills),' 'long-term future start,' and 'other.'

Unemployed, job searchers were without work, but had looked for work in the past four weeks ending with the reference period and were available for work.

Unemployed, temporary layoff or future starts were on temporary layoff due to business conditions, with an expectation of recall, and were available for work; or were without work, but had a job to start within four weeks from the reference period and were available for work (don't need to have looked for work during the four weeks ending with the reference week).

Labour underutilization rate (specific definition to measure the COVID-19 impact) combines all those who were unemployed with those who were not in the labour force but wanted a job and did not look for one; as well as those who remained employed but lost all or the majority of their usual work hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 as a proportion of the potential labour force.

Potential labour force (specific definition to measure the COVID-19 impact) includes people in the labour force (all employed and unemployed people), and people not in the labour force who wanted a job but didn't search for reasons such as 'waiting for recall (to former job),' 'waiting for replies from employers,' 'believes no work available (in area, or suited to skills),' 'long-term future start,' and 'other.'

Time-related underemployment rate combines people who remained employed but lost all or the majority of their usual work hours as a proportion of all employed people.

Information on population groups

Beginning in July, the LFS includes a question asking respondents to report the population groups to which they belong. Possible responses, which are the same as in the 2016 Census, include:

• White

• South Asian e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan

• Chinese

• Black

• Filipino

• Arab

• Latin American

• Southeast Asian e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai

• West Asian e.g., Iranian, Afghan

• Korean

• Japanese

• Other

For LFS records interviewed before July, population group characteristics were assigned using an experimental sample matching data integration method, which involves LFS and the Census of Population This historical data complements population group data collected directly in LFS, through a comparison of year-over-year changes in the unemployment rate.

According to the Employment Equity Act, visible minorities are "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." In the text, data for the population who identify as Aboriginals are analyzed separately. The remaining category is described as "people not designated as visible minorities" or "people who are not a visible minority."

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.

The seasonally adjusted data for retail trade and wholesale trade industries presented here are not published in other public LFS tables. A seasonally adjusted series is published for the combined industry classification (wholesale and retail trade).

To ensure that the LFS reflects current labour market conditions as accurately as possible, data are revised following each census to reflect the most recently available population estimates and to correspond with current Standard Geographic Classification boundaries. This standard revision process results in minor changes to recent and historical LFS data and has little impact on trends in key labour market indicators, such as employment, unemployment, and labour force participation rates.

Changes to LFS Common Output Data Repository tables and information products resulting from this historical revision will be announced in The Daily on January 25, 2021.

Next release

The next release of the LFS will be on January 8, 2021.

Products

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 also 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 province and 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, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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