Labour Force Survey, September 2021
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September Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of September 12 to 18.
As of the September reference week, several provinces had introduced, or planned to introduce, proof-of-vaccination requirements to enter non-essential venues such as restaurants, bars and gyms. In addition, masking requirements in indoor public spaces were re-introduced in some regions.
Alberta re-introduced an alcohol service curfew at establishments such as restaurants, pubs and bars beginning September 4. In addition, employers in the province were urged to pause return-to-work plans. On September 14, Nova Scotia postponed entering its final phase of reopening.
After the Canada-United States border reopened on August 9 for fully vaccinated Americans to enter Canada without quarantine requirements, restrictions on travellers from around the globe were eased on September 7, potentially boosting the arrival of tourists and new immigrants.
Employment regains pre-pandemic level in September, with some notable differences
Employment returned to its February 2020 level in September, increasing by 157,000 (+0.8%).
The employment rate was 60.9%, 0.9 percentage points lower than in February 2020.
The labour force participation rate was 65.5% in September, matching the rate observed in February 2020.
Employment among core-aged women (that is, those aged 25 to 54) was 49,000 (+0.8%) above its February 2020 level. Among core-aged men, employment was on par with February 2020.
Employment among women aged 55 and older continued to lag February 2020 (-42,000; -2.2%).
Employment in occupations not requiring postsecondary education was 287,000 lower in September 2021 than in September 2019 (not seasonally adjusted).
The numbers of public- and private-sector employees were at or above February 2020 levels, while self-employment remained 8.4% (-241,000) below its pre-pandemic level.
Employment in the services-producing sector surpassed its pre-COVID level in September, while employment in the goods-producing sector remained 3.2% (-128,000) below its February 2020 level.
Total hours worked were up 1.1%, but were 1.5% below their pre-pandemic level.
The number of people working from home was 4.1 million in September, down from 5.1 million in April 2020.
September employment gains were widespread
Increases in employment were concentrated in full-time work, and among people in the core working age group of 25 to 54.
Employment gains in the month were split between the public-sector (+78,000; +1.9%) and the private-sector (+98,000; +0.8%).
Employment increased in six provinces in September: Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.
Service-sector increases (+142,000) were led by public administration (+37,000), information, culture and recreation (+33,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (+30,000).
Employment in accommodation and food services fell for the first time in five months (-27,000).
While employment in manufacturing (+22,000) and natural resources (+6,600) increased, there was little change in the goods-producing sector overall.
Unemployment rate continues downward trend
The unemployment rate declined for the fourth consecutive month in September, falling 0.2 percentage points to 6.9%, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic.
The number of people unemployed was little changed—the decline in the unemployment rate was driven instead by an increase (+139,000) in the number of Canadians participating in the labour market.
Long-term unemployment was little changed in September and accounted for 27.3% of all unemployment, up from 15.6% in February 2020.
The unemployment rate fell for men aged 55 and older (-0.5 percentage points to 7.2%) and for core-aged women (-0.3 percentage points to 5.5%).
The unemployment rate among 15- to 69-year-olds who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities was 7.8%, down 2.0 percentage points from August.
Employment regains pre-pandemic level
Employment rose by 157,000 (+0.8%) in September, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.9%.
Employment gains in September were concentrated in full-time work, and among people in the core working age group of 25 to 54. Increases were spread across multiple industries and provinces.
The gains in September brought employment back to the same level as in February 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic. However, the employment rate—that is, the proportion of the population aged 15 and older that was employed—was 60.9% in September, 0.9 percentage points lower than in February 2020, due to population growth of 1.4% over the past 19 months.
The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours was little changed in September and remained 218,000 higher (+26.8%) than in February 2020. Total hours worked were up 1.1% in September, but were 1.5% below their pre-pandemic level.
The share of Canadians working from home holds steady in September
Among 15- to69-year-olds who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion working from home was little changed in September at 23.8%. The proportion who worked from home was lowest in Saskatchewan (12.3%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (12.8%), and highest in Ontario (28.7%). Overall, at the national level, the proportion of workers who worked from home was higher in urban areas (25.2%) than in rural areas (15.9%).
In September 2021, 4.1 million Canadians who worked at least half their usual hours worked from home, a number similar to the level recorded in September 2020. Over the same period, the number of workers who worked at a location other than home rose by 1 million to 13.2 million.
Public- and private-sector employment now at or above pre-pandemic levels
Employment gains in September were split between public-sector (+78,000; +1.9%) and private-sector (+98,000; +0.8%) employees. September gains resulted in the number of private-sector employees returning to its pre-pandemic level for the first time, while the number of employees in the public sector was 257,000 (+6.6%) higher than in February 2020.
In contrast, self-employment was little changed in the month, remaining 8.4% (-241,000) below its pre-pandemic level. September marks the sixth consecutive month with no growth in self-employment. Among 15- to 69-year-olds who reported receiving a Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) payment in the previous four weeks, 51.0% were either self-employed in September or were not currently working and had last worked as a self-employed worker within the last 12 months.
Full-time employment up for women
Full-time employment rose by 194,000 (+1.3%) in September and returned to its February 2020 level for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Women saw the majority of the increase in the month, as their full-time employment rose by 154,000 (+2.3%) with gains across a number of industries, including educational services, and healthcare and social assistance. Part-time employment was little changed in September, after having returned to its pre-pandemic level in June 2021.
While both full-time and part-time employment have returned to their February 2020 levels, there has been a change in the distribution between men and women. Compared with February 2020, full-time employment among men was down (-107,000; -1.2%) in September, while part-time employment was up (+95,000; +7.5%). In contrast, among women, full-time work was up (+116,000; +1.7%) and part-time work was down (-103,000; -4.5%) over the same period. Despite this shift, women were still more likely to be employed part-time (24.3%) compared with men (13.5%).
Employment among core-aged women above pre-pandemic level
Among people of core working age (aged 25 to 54), employment increased by 143,000 (+1.2%) in September, with all of the gains in full-time work. Full-time gains for core-aged women (+101,000; +2.1%) were led by increases in the educational services industry and were double the full-time gains for core-aged men (+49,000; +0.8%). September gains brought employment among core-aged women above its February 2020 level (+49,000; +0.8%), and put employment for core-aged men on par with its pre-pandemic level, for the first time.
The employment rate for the core-aged population rose 0.9 percentage points to 83.0% in September, and returned to its pre-pandemic level for both core-aged men (86.1%) and core-aged women (79.9%).
Among young women aged 15 to 24, employment rose by 17,000 (+1.3%) in September and returned to its February 2020 level for the first time. In contrast, employment among young men aged 15 to 24 was little changed from August and remained 29,000 (-2.2%) below February 2020. The employment rate—the share of the population that is employed—was on par with pre-pandemic rates among both male and female youth.
Employment among Canadians aged 55 and older was little changed in September. Among older women, employment continued to lag February 2020 (-42,000; -2.2%), entirely due to shortfalls in part-time work, whereas employment among older men was on par with its pre-pandemic level for the third consecutive month. However, as the population aged 55 and older has grown by 3.3% since February 2020, employment rates have fallen among both older men (-1.2 percentage points to 40.4%) and women (-1.6 percentage points to 29.3%).
School year begins for students and parents
As of the September reference week, the new school year was underway across the country, affecting the labour market conditions of both students and parents. Almost two-thirds (63.2%) of young Canadians aged 15 to 24 were enrolled in school in September, a proportion similar to September 2019 (62.0%) and September 2020 (62.7%) (not seasonally adjusted).
Among youth aged 20 to 24 who were students, about half (51.2%) were employed, little changed from September 2019. In contrast, the employment rate among non-student youth in the same age group was down 1.5 percentage points, to 79.7%, compared with two years earlier (not seasonally adjusted).
For parents, the resumption of the school year is typically associated with a rebound in employment rates and hours worked following seasonal declines over the summer. In September, these key labour market indicators were similar to previous Septembers for core-aged mothers whose youngest child was under 13. Compared with September 2019, the employment rate for this group was little changed at 79.4%, while their average hours worked was little changed at 29.3 hours per week (not seasonally adjusted).
In contrast, core-aged fathers whose youngest child was under 13 saw a decline in both their employment rate (down 0.7 percentage points to 86.7%) and their average hours worked (down 1.2 hours to 39.0 hours per week) in September 2021 compared with September 2019. Despite these declines among fathers, they remain more likely to be employed and to work more hours per week compared with mothers, consistent with historical trends.
During the pandemic, mothers have been more likely than fathers to work from home. In September, nearly one-third (32.5%) of working core-aged mothers whose youngest child was under 13 worked from home, down 2.1 percentage points compared with September 2020. Over the same period, the share of fathers working from home was little changed at 26.9% (not seasonally adjusted).
Employment rate increases for Arab Canadians
Among those who are not members of groups designated as visible minorities and who are not Indigenous, the employment rate (71.0%) was little changed for the second consecutive month in September. While it was also little changed for most visible minority groups, the employment rate increased among Arab Canadians (+3.6 percentage points to 66.3%). In contrast, the employment rate for South Asian Canadians was down (-2.2 percentage points to 71.4%) (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Employment rate continues to increase for very recent immigrants
The employment rate among very recent immigrants (in Canada for five years or less) continued its upward trend in September, reaching 71.0%—6.0 percentage points higher than in September 2019 (three-month moving average, not seasonally adjusted).
While the overall population of newcomers has not grown over the course of the pandemic, the number of very recent immigrants working in some industries has increased. There were more very recent immigrants employed in both professional, scientific, and technical services (+30,000; +37.2%), and in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+22,000; +52.1%) in September 2021 than in September 2019 (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted). These two industries have seen sustained employment growth during the pandemic.
Among immigrants who have been in Canada for more than five years, the employment rate was 58.9% in September, down 1.0 percentage points from September 2019. For people born in Canada, the employment rate was 61.2%, down 2.0 percentage points from the same point in time (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).
Among Indigenous people, employment rate recovery holds for both men and women
In September, the employment rates among both Indigenous men (61.2%) and women (55.4%) were essentially the same as in September 2019. Among men who identify as Métis, the employment rate was 65.7% in September 2021, up 2.4 percentage points compared with two years earlier (not seasonally adjusted).
Among non-Indigenous people, the employment rate in September remained lower than two years ago for both men (65.8%; -1.4 percentage points) and women (56.7%; -1.3 percentage points) (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).
Overall, employment rates for both Indigenous men and women remain lower than those of their non-Indigenous counterparts, consistent with historical trends.
LFS information for Indigenous people reflects the experience of those who identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, and who live off reserve in the provinces.
Unemployment rate continues downward trend
The unemployment rate declined for the fourth consecutive month in September, falling 0.2 percentage points to 6.9%, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic. The unemployment rate peaked at 13.7% in May 2020 and has trended downward since, with some short-term increases during the late fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, coinciding with the tightening of public health restrictions. In the months leading up to the pandemic, the unemployment rate had hovered around historic lows and was 5.7% in February 2020.
The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes those who wanted a job but did not look for one—was 8.9% in September, down 0.2 percentage points from one month earlier.
The total number of unemployed people was little changed in September and the decline in the unemployment rate was driven instead by an increase of 139,000 (+0.7%) in the number of Canadians participating in the labour market.
Long-term unemployment little changed despite employment growth
Long-term unemployment—the number of people continuously unemployed for 27 weeks or more—was little changed in September. There were 389,000 long-term unemployed, more than double (+210,000; +117.0%) the number in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 27.3% of all unemployed in September, up from 15.6% just before the onset of the pandemic.
Among people who had been in long-term unemployment in August, just over 1 in 10 (11.4%) transitioned to employment in September, similar to the pre-COVID average observed from 2017 to 2019. Nearly three-quarters (73.8%) remained unemployed and a further 14.7% had left the labour market by the September LFS reference week (not seasonally adjusted).
The ability of the long-term unemployed to transition to employment may be influenced by a number of factors, including their level of education and current labour market conditions. For example, those with no postsecondary education face a labour market where employment in occupations not requiring postsecondary education was 287,000 lower in September 2021 than in September 2019 (not seasonally adjusted). In recent months, those with no postsecondary education have been less likely to transition out of long-term unemployment to employment than those with a university education (12.5% compared with 16.0%) and a higher proportion has left the labour market (20.5% compared with 13.9%) (three-month moving average, not seasonally adjusted).
Unemployment rate falls for older men and core-aged women
In September, the unemployment rate fell for men aged 55 and older (-0.5 percentage points to 7.2%) and for core-aged women (-0.3 percentage points to 5.5%). It was little changed for the other major demographic groups.
Compared with February 2020, the unemployment rate remained elevated in September for most major demographic groups. For people 55 and older the unemployment rate (7.2%) in September was 2.0 percentage points above its pre-COVID level, with similar increases for women and men. Among core-aged men, the unemployment rate was 1.4 percentage points higher than in February 2020, at 6.2% in September 2021. This was a larger increase than for core-aged women, whose unemployment rate was up 0.8 percentage points to 5.5%. Among youth, the unemployment rate for males aged 15 to 24 was 13.7% in September, up 1.9 percentage points from February 2020. In contrast, the unemployment rate for female youth (8.9%) was little changed from its pre-pandemic level.
Unemployment rate falls for most visible minority groups
The unemployment rate among people who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities was 7.8% in September, down 2.0 percentage points from August. Declines in the unemployment rate were observed for most visible minority groups, including Chinese (-2.1 percentage points to 7.4%), Black (-1.9 percentage points to 8.9%), Arab (-3.5 percentage points to 8.4%), Latin American (-3.2 percentage points to 8.3%) and Southeast Asian Canadians (-2.4 percentage points to 6.4%) (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
The unemployment rate also fell in September among people who were not Indigenous or a visible minority, down 1.4 percentage points to 5.6% (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Large increase in labour force participation
The labour force participation rate—the total number of people who are employed or unemployed as a proportion of the population aged 15 and older—is an indicator of the balance between the number of people who are working or looking for work, and the number of people who are pursuing other activities, including studying, caring for family members, and pursuing leisure or voluntary activities.
The participation rate increased 0.4 percentage points to 65.5% in September, matching the rate observed in February 2020.
The participation rate increased for both core-aged women (+0.9 percentage points to 84.5%) and core-aged men (+0.7 percentage points to 91.8%) and was above its pre-pandemic level for both groups. The participation rate also rose among men aged 55 and older (+0.3 percentage points to 43.5%), bringing it to virtually the same level as it was prior to the pandemic. While there was little change in the participation rate among youth in September (65.4%), the rate for this group has hovered around its pre-pandemic level in recent months.
The participation rate for women aged 55 and older (31.5%) was virtually unchanged in September, and remained 1.0 percentage points below its February 2020 level. Part of this gap is due to compositional shifts related to population aging, including an increase in the number of women aged 65 and older. Among women aged 55 to 64, the participation rate was 62.0% in September, little changed from February 2020.
Labour underutilization remains elevated
The labour underutilization rate fell to 13.8% in September, down 0.4 percentage points from August. Above and beyond the unemployment rate, this rate reflects the proportion of people in the potential labour force who are 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.
The number of people searching for work dropped by 58,000 (-4.3%) in September and was the only component of underutilization to decline in the month. This decline was partly offset by an increase in the number of people on temporary layoff (+40,000; +35.7%), which ticked up after having returned to its February 2020 level in July.
All components of the underutilization rate were higher in September than in February 2020, including job searchers (+231,000; +22.1%); those who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours (+218,000; +26.8%); those who wanted a job but who did not look for one (+56,000; +14.2%); and those on temporary layoff (+46,000; +43.3%).
Number of voluntary job leavers remains well below pre-pandemic level
As employers and workers continue to adjust to changing labour market conditions, supplementary indicators of labour market churn can be useful complements to standard concepts such as employment and unemployment.
The number of core-aged job leavers—people who left a job voluntarily in the previous 12 months and remained not employed in the LFS reference week—stood at 269,000 in September, substantially lower (-119,000; -30.7%) than the September 2019 level of 387,000 (not seasonally adjusted). This is possibly an indication that factors involved in voluntarily leaving a job, such as the ability to relocate or confidence in finding employment in a different field, might be different from what they were before the pandemic. The number of job leavers trended down throughout 2020 and early 2021, and reached a record low of 217,000 in April 2021.
The job-changing rate—which measures the proportion of workers who remain employed from one month to the next but who change jobs between months—complements measures of net employment change and flows into and out of employment. The rate was 0.6% in September, compared with 0.8% in August. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the job-changing rate averaged 0.7% over the period from 2016 to 2019, and ranged between 0.6% and 0.8%.
Wages up 4.6% over two years, after adjusting for employment composition
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, wage changes have been strongly influenced by unprecedented changes in the composition of employment, including disproportionate decreases in employment in lower-paid occupations and decreases in average tenure (which is the time that employees have been in their current job).
A fixed-weighted average wage is one method that paints a picture of wage trends that are less influenced by these changes. Using this approach, which maintains employment composition by occupation and tenure at the 2019 average, average hourly wages were 4.6% (+$1.30) higher in September 2021 than in September 2019. In comparison, and using the same approach, the two-year wage change was +5.2% (+$1.44) in August.
Without controlling for changes in the composition of employment, average hourly wages of all employees were 7.3% (+$2.04) higher in September than two years earlier. In August 2021, unadjusted wages had increased 7.8% (+$2.16) on a two-year basis (not seasonally adjusted).
Employment growth continues across most of the services-producing sector
The number of people working in the services-producing sector increased by 142,000 in September, surpassing its pre-COVID February 2020 employment level for the first time. The increases in September were led by public administration (+37,000), information, culture and recreation (+33,000), and professional, scientific and technical services (+30,000).
Despite the services-sector recovery, employment in some industries, including accommodation and food services and "other services," has yet to return to the level observed before the pandemic in February 2020.
Employment in accommodation and food services fell for the first time in five months in September (-27,000), a slight reduction to the overall gain of 211,000 recorded from May to August 2021. The number of people working in retail trade also declined (-20,000) in September.
While employment in manufacturing (+22,000) and natural resources (+6,600) increased in September, there was little change in the goods-producing sector overall. The sector has seen virtually no growth since the employment loss of 94,000 observed from April to June 2021.
Notable employment gains in industries where many workers continue to work from home
The number of people working in public administration (+37,000; +3.5%) and professional, scientific and technical services (+30,000; +1.7%) increased for the second consecutive month in September. Employment also rose in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+27,000; +2.1%), fully offsetting a decline of 17,000 recorded in the industry in August.
The proportion of workers aged 15 to 69 who mostly work from home remained high in all three of these industries in September, ranging from 49.4% in public administration to 60.3% in professional, scientific and technical services.
The employment increase in public administration in September coincides with a gain (+13,000, not seasonally adjusted) among survey interviewers and statistical clerks in the federal public administration subsector—the occupational group which includes election enumerators and poll clerks. Advance polls for the 2021 federal election were open at the beginning of the LFS reference week.
Compared with pre-COVID February 2020 employment levels, professional, scientific, and technical services (+183,000; +11.9%) and public administration (+108,000; +10.8%) lead all industries in the recovery, with finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing slightly further behind (+76,000; +6.1%).
Workers in information, culture and recreation back to pre-pandemic level
Employment in information, culture and recreation increased for the second consecutive month, rising 33,000 (+4.5%) in September. The combined August and September gain of 56,000 has pushed employment in the industry back to its February 2020 level for the first time. Nearly all of the gains since August have been in Ontario.
Most provinces have allowed festivals, as well as sporting events and recreational facilities, to resume operation since July, but employment in information, culture and recreation remains below pre-pandemic levels in five provinces, with the largest gap, in percentage terms, in Nova Scotia.
Employment of program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness, one of the occupational groups most affected by COVID-related employment losses, remains 17,000 lower than in September 2019 (not seasonally adjusted).
Employment in accommodation and food services declines for the first time since April
After increasing by 211,000 from May to August, the number of people working in accommodation and food services fell by 27,000 (-2.5%) in September, mostly due to a decline in Ontario. While employment in this industry typically decreases from August to September on a seasonally unadjusted basis, the unadjusted decline between these two months was larger than usual in 2021.
With the September loss, overall employment in accommodation and food services was 14.8% (-180,000) below its February 2020 level.
Fewer people working in retail trade in September
Employment fell by 20,000 (-0.9%) in retail trade, bringing employment in the industry to 3.1% (-71,000) below its February 2020 level. Despite the easing of many restrictions across Canada, employment in the industry has hovered around the same level since June. Also, data on business openings and closures show that the total number of active businesses in the industry has shown little growth in 2021 and was 2.7% below its February 2020 level as of June 2021.
Employment gains resume in educational services
After recording little change in July and August, employment grew by 21,000 (+1.5%) in educational services in September, largely as a result of gains in British Columbia. Many schools across Canada returned to full-time in-person learning in September. Nationally, employment in educational services was up 6.8% (+94,000) compared with its February 2020 level.
The number of people working in transportation and warehousing returns to February 2020 level
Employment in the transportation and warehousing industry rose by 17,000 (+1.7%) in September and returned to its February 2020 level for the first time. The monthly gains were largely concentrated in Ontario and Quebec.
The composition of jobs within the industry has shifted since the period before the pandemic. Compared with September 2019, employment in the industry has increased among mail and message distribution occupations (+19,000) and declined in occupations in travel and accommodation (-12,000) (not seasonally adjusted).
Period of little growth persists for goods-producing sector
For the third consecutive month, there was little change in the number of people working in goods-producing industries overall. Employment in the sector remains 93,000 below the recent high recorded in March 2021, and 3.2% (-128,000) below its pre-COVID February 2020 level.
Employment in natural resources rose by 6,600 (+2.0%), with most of the gains attributable to Quebec. The number of people working in the industry has hovered around the same level since April 2021, but remains 7.0% (+22,000) above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level.
The manufacturing industry recorded its first employment gain since December 2020, rising by 22,000 (+1.3%) in September. The increase, almost entirely in Quebec, brought employment in the industry back up to its pre-COVID February 2020 level.
Employment up in six provinces
Employment increased in six provinces in September: Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. There was little change in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
British Columbia was the lone province with employment notably above its pre-pandemic level.
For further information on key province and industry level labour market indicators, see "Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app."
Employment in Ontario rose for the fourth consecutive month (+74,000; +1.0%) in September, all in full-time work. In the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), employment increased by 39,000 (+1.1%). The additional employment brought overall provincial gains since May 2021 to 316,000 (+4.4%). Employment increased in information, culture and recreation, and in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, while it declined in accommodation and food services. The unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month, down 0.3 percentage points to 7.3% in September.
Employment in Quebec rose by 31,000 (+0.7%) in September after holding steady in July and August. Gains were led by manufacturing, followed by professional, scientific and technical services. The unemployment rate in September was 5.7%. In the Montréal CMA, employment was little changed in September following a decline of 29,000 (-1.3%) in August. The Québec CMA posted the lowest unemployment rate of all CMAs in Canada, at 4.1% in September.
In Alberta, employment rose by 20,000 (+0.9%) in September, the second consecutive notable increase since March 2021. Gains were mostly in wholesale and retail trade. The unemployment rate was 8.1%, still above the pre-pandemic rate of 7.5% in February 2020.
In September, there were 7,800 (+1.2%) more employed Manitobans, the second increase in three months. Gains in September were in part-time work, and nearly all among women aged 25 and older and men aged 25 to 54. The unemployment rate was little changed at 5.6%.
Following four months of little change, employment in New Brunswick rose by 6,100 (+1.7%) in September, mainly in full-time work. The unemployment rate was 9.3% in September, unchanged for the third consecutive month.
In Saskatchewan, employment increased by 5,300 (+0.9%) in September, the second consecutive monthly gain. The increase in September was nearly all in part-time work. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 6.3%.
Quarterly update for the territories
After a decrease in the second quarter of 2021, employment in Yukon held steady at 21,700 for the three months ending in September. The employment rate was 66.0%, also little changed and the unemployment rate was 6.1%.
Employment in the Northwest Territories was stable at 23,300 for the three months ending in September, compared with the quarter ending in June. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.5% and the employment rate was 68.7%.
Employment in Nunavut averaged 11,100 for the 12 months ending September, and the employment rate was 48.5%. The unemployment rate was 9.1%.
In September, employment reached its February 2020 level for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the employment rate remained 0.9 percentage points lower than in February, a reflection of the fact that employment growth has not fully matched population growth over the past 19 months.
Entering the fall, the Canadian labour market continues to face a number of challenges and uncertainties, including some industries still looking to fully resume their activities, while others expand and recruit new talent; people in the ranks of the long-term unemployed seeking to find their way back to employment; as well as both employers and workers adjusting to proof-of-vaccination initiatives.
LFS results for the week of October 10 to 16 will be released on November 5.
Labour force characteristics by province, age group and sex, seasonally adjusted (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick)
Labour force characteristics by province, age group and sex, seasonally adjusted (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia)
Labour force characteristics by census metropolitan area, three-month moving average, seasonally adjusted
Labour force characteristics by Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver census metropolitan areas, monthly, seasonally adjusted
Labour force characteristics by province and economic region, three-month moving average ending in September 2020 and September 2021, unadjusted for seasonality
Average usual hours and wages of employees by selected characteristics, unadjusted for seasonality
Regional unemployment rates used by the Employment Insurance program,, three-month moving average, seasonally adjusted
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 September are for the week of September 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."
This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.
LFS estimates at the Canada level do not include the territories.
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 (). 71-543-G
Since March 2020, all LFS face-to-face interviews have been replaced by telephone interviews to protect the health of both respondents and interviewers. While this has resulted in a decline in the LFS response rate, 40,000 interviews were completed in September and in-depth data quality evaluations conducted each month confirm that the LFS continues to produce an accurate portrait of Canada's labour market.
The suspension of face-to-face interviewing has had a larger impact on response rates in Nunavut than in other jurisdictions. Due to the larger decline in response rates for Nunavut, and resulting changes in the composition of the responding sample, data for Nunavut (table 14-10-0292-01) should be used with caution. To reduce the risks associated with declining data quality for Nunavut, users are advised to use 12-month averages (available upon request) rather than 3-month averages when possible. Statistics Canada will continue to monitor the quality of LFS data for Nunavut each month and provide users with updated guidelines as required.
In addition, all telephone interviews were conducted by interviewers working from their home and none were done from Statistics Canada's call centres.
The distribution of LFS interviews in September 2021 compared with August 2021, was as follows:
Telephone interviews – from interviewer homes
• August 2021: 64.1%
• September 2021: 62.9%
• August 2021: 35.9%
• September 2021: 37.1%
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 September 2021 analysis
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 impact of COVID-19) 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.'
Information on population groups
Since July 2020, the LFS has included a question asking respondents to report the population group(s) to which they belong. Possible responses, which are the same as in the 2021 Census, include:
• South Asian e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan
• Latin American
• Southeast Asian e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai
• West Asian e.g., Iranian, Afghan
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, people who identify as a member of a population group (visible minority) are analyzed separately.
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).
The next release of the LFS will be on November 5, 2021. October data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of October 10 to 16, 2021.
More information about the concepts and use of the Labour Force Survey is available online in the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (71-543-G).
The product "Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app" (14200001) is also available. This interactive visualization application provides seasonally adjusted estimates by province, sex, age group and industry.
The product "Labour Market Indicators, by province and census metropolitan area, seasonally adjusted" (71-607-X) is also available. This interactive dashboard provides customizable access to key labour market indicators.
The product "Labour Market Indicators, by province, territory and economic region, unadjusted for seasonality" (71-607-X) is also available. This dynamic web application provides access to labour market indicators for Canada, province, territory and economic region.
The product Labour Force Survey: Public Use Microdata File (71M0001X) is also available. This public use microdata file contains non-aggregated data for a wide variety of variables collected from the Labour Force Survey. The data have been modified to ensure that no individual or business is directly or indirectly identified. This product is for users who prefer to do their own analysis by focusing on specific subgroups in the population or by cross-classifying variables that are not in our catalogued products.
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).