The Daily
|
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Labour Force Survey, December 2021

Released: 2022-01-07

Employment rose by 55,000 (+0.3%) in December, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.9%.

There were more people working full-time in December, particularly core-aged men aged 25 to 54. Most of the employment growth was in Ontario. Nationally, gains were driven by the construction and educational services industries.

After having regained its pre-COVID level for the first time in November, total hours worked were little changed in December.

December Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of December 5 to 11. Public health measures in place during the reference week were largely similar to those in place in November, and were among the least restrictive seen during the pandemic. The widespread emergence of the Omicron variant, and associated adjustments to public health measures, occurred after the December reference week.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Strong upward trend in employment from May to December
Strong upward trend in employment from May to December

Highlights

Employment growth continues in December

Employment rose by 55,000 (+0.3%) in December, driven by gains in the goods-producing sector (+44,000).

Full-time employment rose by 123,000 (+0.8%), while part-time employment declined by 68,000 (-1.9%).

Total hours worked were little changed in December.

Among core-aged men aged 25 to 54, employment increased by 63,000 (+1.0%), making it 162,000 (+2.5%) higher than in February 2020.

Although little changed in December, employment for core-aged women has also trended upward since June and was 130,000 (+2.2%) above its pre-pandemic level in December.

Public sector employment rose by 32,000 (+0.8%), while there was little change in the number of private sector employees and the number of self-employed workers.

Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion who worked from home was little changed in December at 23.8%.

Average hourly wages increased 2.7% (+$0.80) on a year-over-year basis in December.

The labour force participation rate held steady at 65.3%, virtually the same as before the pandemic.

Employment increased in Ontario and Saskatchewan, while it declined in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Unemployment remains slightly above pre-pandemic level

The unemployment rate was 5.9% in December, little changed from November and slightly above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level (5.7%).

The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one—was 7.6%, marking the first return to the pre-pandemic level for this indicator.

The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more fell for the second consecutive month (-25,000; -8.0%).

Employment growth driven by full-time gains

Full-time employment rose by 123,000 (+0.8%) in December, with the majority of the increase occurring among men of core working age (+95,000; +1.6%). In comparison, the number of people working part-time declined (-68,000; -1.9%). Full-time employment has trended up since June, and was 248,000 (+1.6%) higher than its pre-pandemic February 2020 level in December. In contrast, part-time employment has been mostly flat since June and remained at virtually the same level as it was in February 2020.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Full-time employment trends upward from June to December 2021
Full-time employment trends upward from June to December 2021

Core-aged men lead employment growth

Total employment among core-aged men increased by 63,000 (+1.0%) in December, bringing their employment to 162,000 (+2.5%) above the level observed in February 2020.

Although it was little changed in December, employment for core-aged women has also trended upward since June and was 130,000 (+2.2%) above its pre-pandemic level in December.

There was little change in employment among youth aged 15 to 24 and people aged 55 and older in December.

The share of Canadians working from home little changed in December

Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion who worked from home was little changed in December at 23.8%. The proportion of Canadians working from home has remained stable since August 2021.

Compared with December 2020, there were 500,000 fewer Canadians working from home. In 2020, the number of workers working from home had increased steadily in the fall during the second wave of the pandemic.

In January 2022, Statistics Canada will introduce several enhancements to LFS questions on work location in order to better capture permanent and temporary shifts in the locations where Canadians work. Notably, the new questions will capture hybrid arrangements where workers usually work both at home and at locations other than home. These enhancements will provide a more detailed picture of monthly changes in work location associated with the tightening and easing of public health restrictions, as well as insights into more permanent changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public sector employment continues upward trend, while self-employment remains flat

Public sector employment rose by 32,000 (+0.8%) in December, while the number of employees in the private sector and the number of self-employed workers were little changed.

The number of employees in the public sector was 7.9% (+307,000) above its pre-pandemic level, due to gains in public administration, educational services, as well as health care and social assistance. The number of private sector employees remained 1.4% higher (+178,000) than in February 2020, while self-employment continued to lag its pre-pandemic level by 8.5% (-245,000).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Upward trend in public sector employment continues
Upward trend in public sector employment continues

Employment among Indigenous Canadians higher than before the pandemic

Compared with December 2019, total employment among Indigenous people was up 10.4% (+67,000) in December 2021. Increases in manufacturing (+19,000; +47.8%) and public administration (+15,000; +32.7%) contributed most towards these gains. Over the same period, employment increased 0.7% (+138,000) among non-Indigenous people (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.

A higher proportion of core-aged newcomers is employed than before the pandemic

After declining earlier in the pandemic due to international travel restrictions, the number of very recent immigrants (those who have arrived within the previous five years) has generally recovered to its pre-pandemic level in recent months. In December, the total number of very recent immigrants of core working age, who are most likely to participate in the labour market, was 0.6% (+5,000) higher than two years earlier (three-month moving average; not seasonally adjusted).

Among very recent immigrants in the core working age group, the share who were employed rose by 7.8 percentage points to 78.7% in the two years ending in December 2021. Employment gains over the period were largest in professional, scientific, and technical services (+26,000; +31.3%) and wholesale and retail trade (+20,000; +28.7%), reflecting the role that both higher-skilled and lower-skilled employment plays in the integration of newcomers into the labour market (three-month moving averages; not seasonally adjusted).

In December, the employment rates among core-aged immigrants who arrived more than five years ago (82.6%) and core-aged people born in Canada (85.5%) were little changed from two years earlier (three-month moving averages; not seasonally adjusted).

Employment rate increases year over year for most groups designated as visible minorities

Compared with one year earlier, the employment rate was up in December among Canadians who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities (+4.0 percentage points to 70.9%), as well as among those who are not a visible minority and not Indigenous (+2.0 percentage points to 70.8%). The employment rate increased for most of the largest visible minority groups, including Southeast Asian (+8.3 percentage points to 68.7%), Black (+4.5 percentage points to 72.1%) and Filipino (+4.0 percentage points to 77.7%) Canadians. The rate was little changed over the year for Chinese Canadians (66.5%) (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).

Shift in occupation drives an increase in the importance of selected skills

From December 2019 to December 2021, employment in sales and services occupations fell 273,000 (-6.0%), a larger decline than for any other major occupational group. People working in sales and services jobs accounted for 22.1% of all employment in December 2021, down 1.8 percentage points from two years earlier. In contrast, over the same period, the contribution to total employment increased by 1.1 percentage points (to 9.2%) for occupations in natural and applied sciences and related occupations, and by 0.9 percentage points (to 17.1%) for occupations in business, finance and administration.

In parallel with shifts in the composition of employment by occupation, specific skills have assumed increased importance over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting both opportunities and challenges to employers with vacant positions to fill and workers seeking to keep up-to-date with emerging labour market trends.

As of December 2021, more than half (52.7%) of employed Canadians worked in occupations where active learning skills are important, up 2.6 percentage points from two years earlier. "Active learning" involves understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. Over the same period, there were also notable increases in the proportion of workers in occupations where it is important to have reading comprehension (+2.4 percentage points to 73.0%); writing (+2.1 percentage points to 59.0%); and complex problem solving skills (+2.1 percentage points to 57.4%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Within selected occupation groups, the importance of specialised technical skills has also shifted over the course of the pandemic. For example, within the broad group of natural and applied science and related occupations, employment increases over the two years to December were greatest in occupations where programming skills (+32.3%; +111,000) or operations analysis skills (+20.0%; +106,000) are important. As a result of these increases, the proportion of employment in this group of occupations where these skills are important rose to 25.7% (+3.3 percentage points) for programming and to 36.1% (+1.5 percentage points) for operations analysis skills (not seasonally adjusted).

Chart 4  Chart 4: Share of employment by occupation has shifted since 2019
Share of employment by occupation has shifted since 2019

Average hourly wages increased over the past 12 months

Average hourly wages increased 2.7% (+$0.80) on a year-over-year basis in December, similar to the average pace of wage growth observed from 2017 to 2019 (+2.6%).

One year ago, in December 2020, average hourly wages were up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. This was due in part to changes in the composition of employment which occurred earlier in the pandemic. Using a method that holds the composition of employees by occupation and tenure constant at the 2019 average, year-over-year wage growth was 3.0% in December 2020.

In recent months, changes in the composition of employment have had less of an effect on wage growth than earlier in the pandemic. In December 2021, for the third consecutive month, year-over-year wage growth was essentially the same when holding the composition of employees constant (+2.6%; +$0.75 in December) as when no controls were applied (+2.7%; +$0.80 in December).

Unemployment remains slightly above pre-pandemic level

The unemployment rate was 5.9% in December, little changed from November. The rate was slightly above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level (5.7%), and within 0.5 percentage points of the record low of 5.4% observed in May 2019.

Total unemployment (1.21 million) was also little changed in December, and stood 67,000 (+5.8%) higher than the 1.15 million people who were unemployed in February 2020.

The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one—was 7.6% in December, marking the first return to the pre-pandemic level for this indicator.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Unemployment rate little changed in December
Unemployment rate little changed in December

Widespread unemployment rate declines among men

In December, the unemployment rate fell for men in each of the three main age groups: those aged 15 to 24 (-1.1 percentage points to 11.9%); those aged 25 to 54 (-0.5 percentage points to 4.6%); and those aged 55 and older (-0.4 percentage points to 6.3%).

Among women, the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 rose 1.7 percentage points to 9.6%, while it was little changed for the other age groups.

Compared with February 2020, the unemployment rate was little changed among young men (11.9%) and young women (9.6%) in December. The rates for core-age men (4.6%) and women (4.7%) remained on par with pre-pandemic levels for the second consecutive month, after first reaching the milestone in November 2021. The unemployment rate remained elevated compared with February 2020 for both men (+1.0 percentage points; 6.3%) and women (+1.8 percentage points; 6.8%) aged 55 and older.

Long-term unemployment falls for second consecutive month

The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more fell for the second consecutive month (-25,000; -8.0%) and stood at 293,000 in December. While long-term unemployment fell in each of the previous two months, it continued to account for a substantially higher share of total unemployment in December (24.1%) than in February 2020 (15.6%), prior to the onset of the pandemic.

Among people who were in long-term unemployment in November, 14.7% had found employment in December, slightly higher than the average of 11.6% observed from 2017 to 2019. The majority (69.5%) remained unemployed and 15.9% had left the labour market.

Labour underutilization continues decline to new pandemic low

The labour underutilization rate—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—fell 0.4 percentage points to 12.0% in December, the lowest rate observed since the onset of the pandemic. While this remained 0.6 percentage points above the record low of 11.4% observed immediately before the pandemic in February 2020, it is within the range of monthly rates observed through 2018 and 2019, which ranged from 11.5% to 12.2%.

The decline in the labour underutilization rate in December was driven by a decrease in the number of people working less than half of their usual hours (-39,000; -4.0%).

Compared with February 2020, the number of people working less than half their usual hours (+116,000; +14.3%) and the number of job searchers (+85,000; +8.2%) remained elevated in December 2021. In contrast, the number of people who wanted a job but did not look for one, and the number of people on temporary layoff were on par with their pre-pandemic levels.

Labour force participation remains at record-high for core-aged population

The share of the population aged 15 years and older participating in the labour market held steady at 65.3% in December, virtually the same as it was prior to the pandemic.

Strong labour force growth over the previous six months was driven by core-aged people (aged 25 to 54), whose participation rate (88.3%) remained at a record high for the fourth consecutive month in December. The rate for core-aged women held steady at its record high of 84.6%, and the rate for core-aged men was little changed at 92.0%.

Among people aged 55 and older, the participation rates of both men and women remained below pre-pandemic levels in December. For women aged 55 and older, the rate was virtually unchanged at 31.2% (1.3 percentage points below February 2020). For men in this age group, the rate fell by 0.6 percentage points to 42.7% (1.3 percentage points below February 2020). The decline in participation of people aged 55 and older over the course of the pandemic is partly due to population aging, as the share of this age group that is 65 and older was higher in December 2021 than two years earlier.

For female youth aged 15 to 24, the participation rate rose by 1.2 percentage points to 66.9% in December, and was 1.6 percentage points higher than prior to the pandemic in February 2020. The male youth participation rate was little changed at 64.0%, virtually the same as it was prior to the pandemic.

Employment gains driven by the goods-producing sector

Employment in the goods-producing sector grew for a second consecutive month in December, rising by 44,000. An increase in construction (+27,000) accounted for most of the gain in the sector.

After increasing by 127,000 in November, the number of people working in the services-producing sector was virtually unchanged in December. Employment was up by 17,000 in educational services, but was little changed in all other services-producing industries, including accommodation and food services.

Since May 2021, employment in the services-producing sector has grown by 780,000 and was 2.0% above its pre-COVID February 2020 level in December 2021. In contrast, the number of people working in goods-producing industries grew little during the summer and early fall, following losses in May and June. Despite recent gains, employment in goods-producing industries in December 2021 remained 1.6% below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level.

First employment increase in construction since August

In December, employment increased in construction by 27,000 (+1.9%), the first gain in the industry since August. Nationally, most of the growth was concentrated in full-time work and among paid employees. The December employment gains follow an increase in the industry's gross domestic product, which rose 1.6% in October 2021.

Despite the gain in December, employment in construction remains 2.7% (-41,000) below its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

More people working in educational services

The number of people working in educational services rose by 17,000 (+1.2%) in December, with Ontario accounting for the majority of the increase. Employment in the industry has hovered around the same level since September and was 6.7% (+93,000) above its pre-COVID level in December.

In Quebec, schools were closed after the December LFS reference week, and several provinces have delayed the return of students or moved to online learning following the December holiday. Statistics Canada will continue to monitor the impact of public health measures on employment in educational services over the coming months.

Employment trends diverge across industries in 2021

While overall employment returned to its pre-COVID level in 2021, industries followed different trajectories over the course of the year.

The information, culture, and recreation industry saw notable employment recovery in 2021. In December 2020, the number of people working in this industry was 12.6% below its pre-COVID level. Employment grew by 107,000 in 2021, and returned to its pre-pandemic level in September 2021. Most of the increases in information, culture and recreation occurred in the late summer and early fall of 2021.

Despite increasing by 103,000 in 2021, employment in accommodation and food services remained 16.9% (-206,000) below its February 2020 pre-COVID level in December 2021, with little employment growth in the industry since September. High job vacancies since the summer point to ongoing recruitment challenges for employers in this industry.

While employment in manufacturing had returned to its pre-COVID level by the end of 2020, there was little net growth in the industry in 2021, with several subsectors affected by semiconductor shortages. Losses in May 2021 were erased by gains in the fall. According to data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), payroll employment in beverage manufacturing (+2,800; +6.2%) was furthest above its pre-pandemic level in October 2021, while printing and related support activities (-5,300; -11.2%) and motor vehicle parts manufacturing (-3,500; -4.7%) were furthest behind.

In December 2020, the number of people working in agriculture was 7.4% lower than its pre-COVID level. Employment continued to decline in 2021, falling to 19.5% (-59,000) below its February 2020 level by December 2021. In December, there were 37,000 fewer people working in agriculture compared with 12 months earlier, with nearly all of the losses attributable to self-employment (not seasonally adjusted). Businesses in agriculture faced significant challenges in 2021, including hot and dry weather impacting the growing season in Western Canada (Production of principal field crops, November 2021).

Chart 6  Chart 6: In 2021, employment recovered partially in accommodation and food services and trended down in agriculture
In 2021, employment recovered partially in accommodation and food services and trended down in agriculture

Employment up in two provinces

In December 2021, employment increased in Ontario and Saskatchewan, while it declined in Newfoundland and Labrador. There was little change in all other provinces.

In the 12 months ending in December 2021, nearly all provinces posted employment growth, led by Ontario (+413,000; +5.7%), Quebec (+158,000; +3.8%), Alberta (+130,000; +6.0%) and British Columbia (+101,000; +3.9%). There were also more people working in Manitoba (+37,000; +5.9%), Saskatchewan (+23,000; +4.3%), Nova Scotia (+16,000; +3.4%) and Prince Edward Island (+5,800; +7.5%) in December 2021 than in December 2020. There was little overall employment change in December 2021 in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, although employment in both provinces was on par with pre-pandemic levels in December. Employment changes for Nova Scotia in particular have occurred in the context of record high population growth due to both international and interprovincial migration (Canada's population estimates, third quarter 2021).

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 seventh consecutive month (+47,000; +0.6%) in December, bringing total gains since May to 468,000 (+6.5%). Increases were in full-time work, and mostly in wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing. Men aged 15 to 24 and men aged 25 to 54 accounted for most of the gains. The unemployment rate fell for the seventh consecutive month, down 0.4 percentage points to 6.0%, the lowest since February 2020.

Despite changing little in December, since May 2021 employment gains in the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) totalled 330,000 (+10.1%) and the unemployment rate fell from 10.5% to 6.8%. In December, the Peterborough CMA had one of the highest unemployment rates among all CMAs (9.5%; +3.2 percentage points compared with February 2020), while recovery also lagged in the Brantford CMA, where the unemployment rate was 7.2% in December (+2.2 percentage points compared with February 2020) (three-month moving averages).

In December, employment also rose in Saskatchewan (+6,000; +1.1%), the first notable increase since September. The gain was in full-time employment and mainly among men aged 25 to 54. The most notable increase was in professional, scientific and technical services. The unemployment rate in the province was 5.4% and was below its pre-pandemic level in the CMAs of Regina (5.6%; 1.2 percentage points below February 2020) and Saskatoon (5.5%; 1.1 percentage points below February 2020) (three-month moving averages).

In Quebec, employment was little changed as increases in full-time work offset decreases in part-time work. While construction posted the largest gain in December, there were notably fewer people working in healthcare and social assistance. The unemployment rate ended the year at 4.6% and remained near the pre-pandemic low of February 2020. The Québec CMA had the lowest unemployment rate among all CMAs at 2.6% (1.5 percentage points below February 2020; three-month moving average).

Following an increase in November, employment in Alberta was little changed in December and the unemployment rate was 7.3%. At 64.2%, the employment rate was again the highest among the provinces.

In British Columbia, employment held steady for the sixth consecutive month. The unemployment rate was 5.3%. Gains earlier in 2021 lifted employment in the province 56,000 (+2.1%) above its February 2020 level. The recent severe flooding affecting the southwest region of the province occurred just after the end of the November reference week and, by December, the region was in early reconstruction. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, hours worked in the province rose by 8.7% in December following declines of 4.4% in October and 4.2% in November. In the CMA of Vancouver, employment was little changed in December, however, compared with December 2019 there were fewer people (-8.5%) working in transportation and warehousing, coinciding with disruptions at the Port of Vancouver linked to supply chain challenges and, more recently, flooding (three-month moving average; not seasonally adjusted).

In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment fell by 4,600 (-2.0%) in December, partly offsetting the increase observed in November. The decline was mainly in full-time work. The unemployment rate rose 1.2 percentage points to 11.6% as the number of unemployed increased by 2,900.

Quarterly update for the territories

Employment in Yukon rose by 2,300 in the three months ending in December to 24,000, the first notable quarterly increase in 2021. The employment rate increased from 66.0% in the third quarter to 72.3% in the fourth quarter, while the unemployment rate fell 3.3 percentage points to 2.8%.

Compared with the third quarter, employment in the Northwest Territories rose by 700 in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 24,000. The employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points to 70.6% and the unemployment rate was 5.1%.

Employment in Nunavut averaged 11,500 for the 12 months ending in December, down 900 compared with the 12 months ending in September. The employment rate was little changed at 50.0%. The unemployment rate averaged 10.2% in the 12 months ending in December.

Looking Ahead

Since the December reference week, many provinces have made adjustments to public health measures in response to rising COVID-19 cases, including renewed capacity limits or closures for restaurants, stores, recreational facilities, and entertainment venues, as well as the extension of school holiday breaks or a return to online schooling. Similar measures in previous months have resulted in labour market impacts.

LFS results for the week of January 9 to 15 will be released on February 4, 2022.













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 December are for the week of December 5 to 11, 2021.

A standard revision to the LFS data will be released on January 24, 2022. The LFS seasonally adjusted estimates will be revised back to January 2019 using updated seasonal factors.

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 (Catalogue number71-543-G).

Skills data were derived for occupations at the four-digit National Occupation Classification (NOC) level using occupational skill ratings obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a free U.S. online database. A crosswalk was developed to convert the O*NET data to the NOC 2016, version 1.3.

For more information on the O*NET® 26.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA), please consult the O*NET® Content Model. Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.

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, more than 42,000 interviews were completed in December 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 December 2021 compared with November 2021, was as follows:

Telephone interviews – from interviewer homes

• November 2021: 63.6%

• December 2021: 63.5%

Online interviews

• November 2021: 36.4%

• December 2021: 36.5%

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 the December 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 of Population, 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

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.

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).

Next release

The next release of the LFS will be on February 4, 2022. January data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of January 9 to 15, 2022.

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 by province, sex, age group and industry.

The product "Labour Market Indicators, by province and census metropolitan area, seasonally adjusted" (Catalogue number71-607-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" (Catalogue number71-607-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 (Catalogue number71M0001X) 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.

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: