Labour Force Survey, October 2021
October Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of October 10 to 16.
Compared with the September reference week, more proof-of-vaccination initiatives were in effect in various provinces and workplaces. In British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario, capacity limits were lifted in many sectors of activity where proof of vaccination is now mandatory.
Employment holds steady in October
After returning to its pre-pandemic level in September, employment held steady in October.
Employment increases in a number of industries, including retail trade (+72,000), were offset by declines elsewhere, including in accommodation and food services (-27,000).
Employment rose in Ontario and New Brunswick, while it fell in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Gains among private-sector employees (+70,000) were partially offset by declines in self-employment (-38,000).
Total hours worked were up 1.0% in October, and were 0.6% below their pre-pandemic level.
The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours fell 9.7% (-100,000) in October but remained 14.5% higher than in February 2020.
Among people of core working age (25 to 54 years), employment rose by 53,000 (+0.4%), all in full-time work.
Full-time employment among core-aged men returned to its pre-pandemic level, while full-time work for core-aged women was 98,000 (+1.0%) higher than in February 2020.
After increasing from June to September, employment was virtually unchanged in the services-producing sector in October. For the fourth consecutive month, employment was little changed in the goods-producing sector.
Unemployment rate declines for the fifth consecutive month
The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.7% in October, a 20-month low and within 1.0 percentage points of the rate (5.7%) in February 2020.
The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one—was 8.7%, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic.
Long-term unemployment—the number of people continuously unemployed for 27 weeks or more—was little changed (380,000) in October.
Employment holds steady in October
After returning to its pre-pandemic level in September, employment held steady (+31,000; +0.2%) in October. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.7%.
Employment increases in a number of industries, including retail trade, were offset by declines elsewhere, including in accommodation and food services. Employment rose in Ontario and New Brunswick, while it fell in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Gains among paid employees were offset by declines in self-employment.
The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours fell 9.7% (-100,000) in October and remained 117,000 higher (+14.5%) than in February 2020. Total hours worked were up 1.0% in October, and were 0.6% below their pre-pandemic level.
Full-time employment grows for core-aged men and women
Among people of core working age (25 to 54 years), employment rose by 53,000 (+0.4%) in October, with all the gains in full-time work. Full-time employment increased for both core-aged men (+36,000; +0.6%) and women (+30,000; +0.6%). These gains resulted in full-time employment among core-aged men returning to its pre-pandemic level for the first time, while full-time work for core-aged women was 98,000 (+1.0%) higher than in February 2020.
The employment rate—the share of the population that is employed—for the core-aged population rose 0.3 percentage points to 83.3% in October, and was on par with February 2020 for both core-aged men (86.6%) and core-aged women (80.0%).
Employment among young men aged 20 to 24 little changed in October
Employment among young men aged 20 to 24 was little changed in October and has not yet fully recovered from losses suffered during the pandemic's third wave in April 2021. In October, employment for this group remained 21,000 (-2.4%) below the recent high in March 2021 and 46,000 (-5.1%) below its February 2020 pre-pandemic level. Employment among young women in this age group was also little changed in October and continued to trail its pre-pandemic level (-29,000; -3.4%) despite notable increases in June 2021 (+72,000; +10.0%) and September 2021 (+19,000; +2.5%).
Employment among youth aged 15 to 19 was also little changed in October, but exceeded its February 2020 level by 6.1% (+48,000).
Employment among women aged 55 and older fell by 19,000 (-1.1%) in October, remaining 3.3% (-61,000) below February 2020. Employment among older men was little changed and remained on par with its pre-pandemic level for the fourth consecutive month.
Employment rate increases for Latin American and Filipino Canadians
The employment rate increased among Latin American (+5.2 percentage points to 75.7%) and Filipino Canadians (+2.3 percentage points to 80.2%) in October. In contrast, the employment rate for Black Canadians was down 3.0 percentage points to 69.0%. Among people who are not members of groups designated as visible minorities and who are not Indigenous, the employment rate (70.9%) was little changed for the third consecutive month in October (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Employment rate for very recent immigrants remains elevated
After declining earlier in the pandemic due to international travel restrictions, the number of very recent immigrants to Canada has increased in recent months. By October, the total number of very recent immigrants (in Canada for five years or less) aged 15 and older was 1.8% (+19,000) higher than two years earlier. The number of very recent immigrants who were employed increased by 11.0% (+77,000) over the same two-year period.
The employment rate among very recent immigrants (in Canada for five years or less) was little changed in October at 71.0%, but was 5.9 percentage points higher than in October 2019 (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted). Among immigrants who have been in Canada for more than five years, the employment rate was 59.6% in October, down 0.6 percentage points from October 2019. For people born in Canada, the employment rate was down 2.0 percentage points to 61.0% (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).
Employment rate among Indigenous people unchanged from two years earlier
In October, the employment rates among both Indigenous men (60.9%) and women (56.3%) were essentially the same as in October 2019 (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).
Among non-Indigenous people, the employment rate in October remained lower than two years ago for both men (65.5%; -1.3 percentage points) and women (56.9%; -1.3 percentage points) (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).
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.
Self-employment continues to fall, reaching its lowest level since 2007
Overall employment held steady in October (+31,000; +0.2%) as gains among private-sector employees (+70,000; +0.6%) were partially offset by losses in self-employment (-38,000; -1.4%). The number of public sector employees was unchanged. With October losses, self-employment was the lowest observed since March 2007, trailing its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 9.7% (-279,000).
In October 2021, 13.6% of workers were self-employed, down 1.6 percentage points from the same month in 2019 (not seasonally adjusted). In some industries, declines in self-employment since October 2019 have been offset by an increase in the number of paid employees, while in others, there are fewer of both types of workers.
Since October 2019, the number of self-employed workers in professional, scientific and technical services has declined (-52,000; -11.0%) while the number of employees has increased (+191,000; +17.8%), entirely among those with a permanent work arrangement. This resulted in self-employment as a share of total employment falling 5.6 percentage points to one-quarter (25.1%). Nearly one-third (32.5%) of computer and information systems professionals in this industry were self-employed in October 2019. However, after an increase of 86,000 in the number of employees over the past two years and no gains in self-employment, this proportion fell to less than one-quarter (24.2%) in October 2021. An increase in the number of permanent employees in professional, scientific and technical services may suggest a COVID-related shift from freelance or consulting work to more standard forms of employment (not seasonally adjusted).
In other industries where self-employment is typically more common, such as agriculture, construction and "other" services, decreases in self-employment have not been accompanied by increases in the number of paid employees. As a result, overall employment in these industries remains below its pre-pandemic level. In construction, nearly all of the employment drop since October 2019 can be attributed to declines in self-employment, with virtually no change in the number of paid employees. Self-employment losses were four times greater than losses for employees in agriculture (-48,000 compared with -12,000) and nearly double in "other" services, which includes personal care services (-47,000 compared with -25,000) (not seasonally adjusted).
It is important to note that a decline in self-employment, as measured by the LFS, will not necessarily correspond with declines in the number of active businesses. Just over half of self-employed workers do not own an incorporated business and nearly three-quarters of the decline in self-employment since October 2019 (-225,000; -10.9%) has been among the self-employed without paid help (not seasonally adjusted).
Share of Canadians working from home little changed in October
Among workers aged 15 to 69 who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion who worked from home was little changed at 23.8% in October.
Despite the easing of many public health restrictions across the country since the summer, the number of Canadians who worked from home in October (4.2 million) was only slightly below the level recorded in October 2020 (4.3 million).
Wages up 5.1% over two years, after adjusting for employment composition
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, average wages have been strongly influenced by unprecedented changes in the composition of employment. In particular, the number of workers in lower-paid occupations and the number of employees with shorter job tenure, who typically have lower average wages, have varied as a result of the tightening and easing COVID-19-related public health measures. A fixed-weighted average wage presents wage trends in a way that is less influenced by these changes.
Using this approach, which maintains employment composition by occupation and tenure at the 2019 average, average hourly wages were 5.1% higher (+$1.43 to $29.49) in October 2021 than two years earlier. Without controlling for changes in the composition of employment, actual average hourly wages of all employees increased 7.5% (+$2.12 to $30.26) over the same two-year period (not seasonally adjusted).
Growth in average wages is often compared with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which quantifies the change in price for a fixed basket of consumer goods and services. The September CPI indicated an increase in prices of 4.9% from two years earlier. In comparison, fixed-weighted average wages had increased 4.6% from September 2019 to September 2021, or 7.3%, without controlling for composition changes (not seasonally adjusted).
Over the summer and early fall, elevated levels of job vacancies—particularly in industries where the easing of public health measures has permitted the resumption of full business operations—have focused attention on the question of whether employers in some industries might raise wages to address recruitment and retention challenges.
In the accommodation and food services industry, for example, job vacancies totalled 156,800 in August, compared with 76,600 in the third quarter of 2019. As of the October LFS, this elevated level of unmet labour demand had not led to notably higher average wages for most occupations within the industry. Average hourly wages among food and beverage service workers ($17.28) and managers in food service and accommodation ($26.86) were virtually unchanged for the three months ending in October 2021, compared with the same period in 2019. The increase in the average wage for chefs and cooks (+7.2%) was similar to the average wage growth for all employees in all industries (+7.6%) over the last two years (three-month moving average, not seasonally adjusted).
Little indication of increased labour market churn
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—was 0.7% in October, compared with 0.6% in September. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the job-changing rate averaged 0.7% over the period from 2016 to 2019, and ranged from 0.6% to 0.8%.
Unemployment rate declines for the fifth consecutive month
The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.7% in October, a 20-month low and within 1.0 percentage points of the rate (5.7%) in February 2020. The total number of unemployed fell 56,000 (-4.0%) to 1,366,000 in October 2021.
The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one—was 8.7% in October, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic and down 0.2 percentage points from September.
Unemployment rate drops for male youth and core-aged people
The unemployment rate decreased for three demographic groups in October: male youth aged 15 to 24 (-1.8 percentage points to 11.9%); core-aged men (-0.3 percentage points to 5.9%); and core-aged women (-0.3 percentage points to 5.2%). The rate increased for women aged 55 and older (+0.7 percentage points to 7.8%).
The unemployment rate remained above February 2020 levels for core-aged men (+1.1 percentage points to 5.9%) and women (+0.5 percentage points to 5.2%), and for people aged 55 and older (+2.4 percentage points to 7.6%). The unemployment rate was little changed from its pre-pandemic level for both male (11.9%) and female (8.5%) youth.
Overall unemployment rate little changed for visible minority Canadians
The unemployment rate among all those who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities was 8.1% in October. This was little changed from September and down from the most recent peak of 11.4% reached in the context of third-wave lockdowns in May 2021 (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
From September to October, increases in the unemployment rate of Arab (+4.4 percentage points) and Chinese (+2.1 percentage points) Canadians were offset by declines among Southeast Asian (-3.7 percentage points), Latin American (-2.5 percentage points) and Filipino (-2.0 percentage points) Canadians (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 5.0% among people who were not Indigenous and not a member of a visible minority group (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Long-term unemployment little changed
Long-term unemployment—the number of people continuously unemployed for 27 weeks or more—was little changed in October, at 380,000, but down from its most recent peak of 486,000 in April 2021. The long-term unemployed accounted for 27.8% of all unemployed in October, little changed over the last four months and up from 15.6% prior to the pandemic. Consistent with longer-term patterns, over half (54.5%) of the long-term unemployed in October were core-aged men (29.9%; 114,000) and women (24.5%; 93,000).
Among people who were in long-term unemployment in September, 15.2% had found employment in October, slightly higher than the average of 11.6% observed from 2017 to 2019. Nearly three-quarters (71.8%) remained unemployed and a further 13.0% had left the labour market. Conversely, 25.1% of people who were unemployed for less than 27 weeks had found employment in October, similar to the 2017-to-2019 average (23.0%).
Two-thirds of the unemployed who return to work within 12 months return to the same industry as their last job
To build a more complete portrait of the unemployed and their transitions back to employment, the LFS collects detailed information from those who have been without work for 12 months or less, including the industry of their last job. This supplementary LFS information can be used, for example, to shed light on the extent to which workers return to the same industry after a period of unemployment.
The industry re-employment rate—the proportion of the unemployed returning to work within 12 months who found work in the same industry as their last job—was 68.8% in October. This rate was similar to levels observed in the same period from 2015 to 2019, when the industry re-employment rate varied from 66.1% to 67.9%. Because the LFS does not collect information on the last job of people who have been without work for more than 12 months, the industry re-employment rate excludes those who have been out of work for more than a year (three-month moving average, not seasonally adjusted).
As is typically the case, the industry re-employment rate varied substantially by industry in October. In the education services industry, the rate was over 90%, while in accommodation and food services, half (50.6%) of the unemployed who had a recent attachment to the industry and who became employed between August and October returned to the industry. The remaining half (49.4%) switched to a different industry. In the same months, from 2015 to 2019, the industry re-employment rate for accommodation and food services ranged from 47.7% to 58.9%, indicating that former workers in this industry are not transitioning to other sectors at a higher-than-usual rate (three-month moving averages; not seasonally adjusted).
Labour underutilization falls as fewer people work less than half their usual hours
The labour underutilization rate fell to 13.1% in October, down 0.7 percentage points from September. 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.
The decline in underutilization in October was driven by fewer people working less than half their usual hours (-100,000; -9.7%), as well as a reduction in unemployment, including fewer people searching for work (-31,000; -2.5%) and a drop in the number of people on temporary layoff (-25,000; -16.7%).
Despite these decreases, most components of the underutilization rate remained higher in October than in February 2020, including job searchers (+199,000; +19.2%); those who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours (+117,000; +14.5%); and those who wanted a job but who did not look for one (+53,000; +13.2%). In contrast, the number of people on temporary layoff was virtually the same as it was before the pandemic in February 2020.
Labour force participation at or above pre-pandemic level for most age groups
The labour force participation rate—the share of the population working or searching for work—fell by 0.2 percentage points to 65.3% in October, as fewer youth aged 15 to 24 searched for work. The size of the October decrease is consistent with typical monthly variations observed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall participation rate in October was virtually the same as the pre-pandemic rate of 65.5% observed in February 2020.
After dropping sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's labour force participation rate has recovered to its pre-pandemic level and was at record or near-record highs for most age groups in October.
Despite this recovery, the effect of population aging continues to shape the overall labour force participation rate. In particular, the number of people aged 65 and older—whose labour force participation rate (14.0%) is substantially lower than younger age groups—has grown by 477,000 (+7.5%) in the two years since October 2019, as the baby boom cohort continues to transition into this age group. At the same time, the number of youth aged 15 to 24 has declined (-42,000; -0.9%) and there has been little growth among those in the core working ages of 25 to 54 (+139,000; +0.9%). Since the early 2000s, this ongoing shift of the population toward older age groups has put downward pressure on Canada's overall labour force participation rate, which has fallen from a peak of 67.6% in 2003 and was 65.3% in October 2021.
As was the case prior to the pandemic, the future supply of workers, and the possibility of shortages impeding economic growth and innovation, is one of the most central questions facing the Canadian labour market.
Recovery in Canada's participation rate contrasts with the "Great Resignation" in the United States
This rebound in Canada's labour force participation rate contrasts with trends observed in the United States, where participation has recovered less quickly. When Canadian data are adjusted to US concepts, Canada's participation rate was 65.1% in September 2021, 0.3 percentage points below its February 2020 level. In the United States, the September labour force participation rate was 1.7 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level.
Participation rate at record high among core-aged people, with little change among older Canadians
The participation rate for the core-aged population was 88.2% in October, a record high since comparable data became available in 1976. For core-aged men, the participation rate was 92.0%, the highest since 1991. Among core-aged women, the rate has hovered around record highs in recent months, and was 84.4% in October.
The record high participation rate of core-aged people is consistent with other indicators showing that workers in this age group are not leaving jobs in greater numbers than prior to the pandemic. The number of core-aged people who voluntarily left a job within the previous 12 months and remained without work in October stood at 297,000, down 24.6% (-97,000) from two years earlier (not seasonally adjusted).
The participation rate for people 55 and older was 37.2% in October, little changed from September and just below the rate of 38.0% prior to the pandemic in February 2020, due to decreased participation among people 65 and older. Among those aged 55 to 64, participation rose 1.1 percentage points from October 2019 to 68.2% in October 2021, while among seniors aged 65 and older, it was down 1.0 percentage points over the same period, to 14.0% (not seasonally adjusted).
Little overall employment change in services-producing and goods-producing sectors
After increasing from June to September, employment was virtually unchanged in the services-producing sector in October. Gains in retail trade (+72,000), "other" services (+21,000), and information, culture and recreation (+15,000) were offset by losses in accommodation and food services (-27,000), business, building and other support services (-23,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (-22,000).
For the fourth consecutive month, employment was little changed in the goods-producing sector in October. The number of people working in natural resources fell by 7,800, fully offsetting a gain recorded in the industry in September.
Compared with February 2020, overall employment remains higher in the services-producing sector (+166,000; +1.1%) and lower in the goods-producing sector (-134,000; -3.4%).
First employment increase in retail trade since June
The number of people working in retail trade increased by 72,000 (+3.3%) in October, pushing employment in the industry back to its pre-COVID level for the first time since March 2021. Most of the gains were concentrated in full-time employment and in Ontario and British Columbia (not seasonally adjusted).
In contrast to restaurants and drinking establishments where capacity limits or proof-of-vaccination requirements were in place in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador in October, retail stores in most provinces have been allowed to operate without specific capacity limits since the summer.
Growth continues in information, culture and recreation
Employment in the information, culture and recreation industry was up for the third consecutive month in October, rising by 15,000 (+2.0%). Gains in the industry since July now total 72,000. The upward trend in information, culture and recreation coincides with the loosening of capacity limits on recreational facilities, as well as sporting and cultural events, during the summer.
In Ontario, where employment in the industry rose by 10,000, all capacity limits on movie theatres and spectator areas in sports and recreation facilities were lifted before the LFS reference week.
Recent employment gains in information, culture and recreation have occurred in the context of elevated job vacancies in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry.
First decline in professional, scientific and technical services since May 2020
Since the end of the first wave of the pandemic in June 2020, the number of people working in the professional, scientific and technical services industry has followed a long-term upward trend, with employment surpassing its pre-COVID February 2020 level by 183,000 in September 2021.
In October, the number of people working in the industry fell by 22,000 (-1.3%), the first decline since May 2020. The October decline was almost entirely due to decreases in British Columbia and Ontario.
Second consecutive monthly decline in accommodation and food services
After increasing throughout the summer, employment in accommodation and food services declined for the second consecutive month in October (-27,000; -2.6%). The number of people working in the industry was similar to the level recorded 12 months earlier, but remained 17.0% (-207,000) below its pre-pandemic level.
The October decline was largely attributable to Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia. In Alberta, new public health restrictions were introduced in late September, giving restaurants the option to implement either a proof-of-vaccination or negative test requirement, or to not offer indoor dining and comply with other capacity restrictions.
Goods-producing sector continues to post little employment growth
For the fourth consecutive month, employment was little changed in the goods-producing sector overall in October. Employment in the sector has yet to recover from losses in May and June 2021.
The number of people working in natural resources fell by 7,800 (-2.4%) in October, largely due to losses in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Employment in the industry was at virtually the same level as January 2021, despite expectations for non-residential capital and repair expenditures to partially recover in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction in 2021. Employment in natural resources overall remains above its February 2020 level, but nearly 30,000 below the pre-pandemic peak recorded in February 2019.
The construction industry saw virtually no growth in October 2021 for the second consecutive month, and employment remained 43,000 below the recent high in March 2021. The recent period of little employment growth in the industry coincides with declines in investment in building construction from May to August.
Employment up in Ontario and New Brunswick
Employment increased in Ontario and New Brunswick in October, while there were decreases in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. There was little change in all other provinces.
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 fifth consecutive month (+37,000; +0.5%) in October, bringing total gains since May 2021 to 353,000 (+4.9%). Employment was up in a number of industries in the services-producing sector, most notably in retail trade. The unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month (-0.3 percentage points to 7.0%).
In the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), employment growth paused after total gains of 251,000 (+7.7%) from May to September. In the Windsor CMA, the unemployment rate (9.2%) continued to be the highest among all CMAs, as weakness in year-over-year growth in manufacturing employment persisted in the context of continued scarcity of semiconductor chips required in motor vehicle manufacturing.
Employment in New Brunswick rose by 3,000 (+0.8%) in October, the second consecutive monthly increase. Gains were in full-time work and mostly among men aged 25 to 54. The unemployment rate was 9.1%, marking the fourth consecutive month with little or no change.
Following two consecutive monthly gains, employment in Saskatchewan decreased by 6,500 (-1.1%) in October. The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2%, as fewer people participated in the labour market.
In October, there were 3,100 (-0.5%) fewer employed Manitobans, following an increase the previous month. The unemployment rate was little changed at 5.3%, but continued to be the lowest among all provinces.
In British Columbia, an increase in full-time employment offset a decline in part-time work, leaving overall employment little changed for the fourth consecutive month. The unemployment rate was 5.6% in October.
After posting an increase in September, employment in Quebec was virtually unchanged in October and the unemployment rate was 5.6%. The Québec CMA continued to post the lowest unemployment rate (3.8%) of all CMAs, with continued year-over-year employment growth in professional, scientific and technical services and, more recently, in other services-producing industries.
Since the October reference week, labour market conditions have continued to evolve across Canada. Additional proof-of-vaccination initiatives have come into effect in many jurisdictions, and there has been continued easing of remaining public health restrictions in some provinces, such as the removal of capacity limits on indoor dining in Ontario as of October 25.
Federal supports for employers and individuals through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the Canada Recovery Benefit, and other programs, expired on October 23, and new, more targeted programs were announced.
Also, the United States announced that land and ferry border crossings will reopen to fully vaccinated non-essential travellers on November 8.
LFS results for the week of November 7 to 13 will be released on December 3, 2021.
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 October 2020 and October 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 October are for the week of October 10 to 16.
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, approximately 40,200 interviews were completed in October 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 October 2021 compared with September 2021, was as follows:
Telephone interviews – from interviewer homes
• September 2021: 62.9%
• October 2021: 62.4%
• September 2021: 37.1%
• October 2021: 37.6%
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.
The industry re-employment rate refers to the proportion of people re-hired in the same industry that they last worked in, among those who moved from unemployment to employment. Only people with a recent industry attachment are included in the calculation. A person is considered to have a recent industry attachment if they worked within the last 12 months.
The rate is presented as a three-month moving average (not seasonally adjusted). For calculation purposes, the respondent's prior month (during a spell of unemployment) weight is used.
Supplementary indicators used in October 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 December 3, 2021. November data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of November 7 to 13, 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).