Labour Force Survey, December 2022
Employment rose by 104,000 (+0.5%) in December, and the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%, just above the record low of 4.9% reached in June and July.
Employment growth was led by an increase among youth aged 15 to 24, which recouped cumulative losses observed for this group from July to September.
The number of employees increased in the private sector, while it held steady in the public sector. There were broad-based employment gains across several industries, including construction, as well as transportation and warehousing.
Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan in December. There was little change in the other provinces.
In December, 8.1% of employees were absent due to illness or disability, up from 6.8% in November. This was higher than the pre-pandemic average of 6.9% recorded in the month of December from 2017 to 2019 (not seasonally adjusted).
Year-over-year growth in the average hourly wages of employees remained above 5% for a seventh consecutive month in December, up 5.1% (+$1.57 to $32.06) compared with December 2021 (not seasonally adjusted).
Total hours worked were little changed on a monthly basis in December, and up 1.4% compared with 12 months earlier.
As part of a Statistics Canada data collection initiative on new forms of employment, new data for December show that about 250,000 Canadians had provided ride or delivery services through an application or digital platform in the previous 12 months (population aged 16 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Employment increases in December
Employment rose by 104,000 (+0.5%) in December. Employment had previously peaked in May 2022, followed by a downward trend to August. As a result of cumulative gains since then, employment in December was 130,000 (+0.7%) above its May level.
Employment rises for youth and people aged 55 and older
Employment among youth aged 15 to 24 rose by 69,000 (+2.7%) in December, fully recouping the cumulative losses observed for this group from July to September (-51,000; -1.9%). There were increases in full-time work among non-students as well as increases in part-time work among students (not seasonally adjusted).
Increased employment among young men (+36,000; +2.8%) in December helped boost their employment rate to 57.8%, the highest since April 2019. While employment also increased in December among young women (+33,000; +2.6%), the share of young women who were employed remained lower in December (59.2%) than the most recent peak in May 2022 (60.7%).
Employment among those aged 55 and older increased by 31,000 (+0.7%) in December, mostly among those aged 55 to 64 (+23,000; +0.7%). The employment rate among people aged 55 and older (34.6%) was little changed on a year-over-year basis in December, indicating that employment growth for this age group has generally kept pace with the increasing population of older Canadians over this period.
Record-high employment rate for core-aged women in 2022
Following three monthly increases, employment among people in the core working ages of 25 to 54 was little changed in December. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up among both core-aged men (+107,000; +1.6%) and core-aged women (+139,000; +2.3%).
Throughout 2022 the employment rate of core-aged women hovered around record highs. On average over the course of the year, 81.0% of core-aged women were employed, the highest annual rate on record since 1976 and 1.3 percentage points higher than in 2019.
Much of this increase has been among women with young children. On average during 2022, 75.2% of core-aged women with at least one child under 6 years of age were working at a job or business, up 3.3 percentage points compared with 2019.
Also, among core-aged women who were immigrants admitted to Canada within the previous five years, the employment rate was 69.3% on average in 2022, 9.7 percentage points above its 2019 level. As highlighted in a recent release from the 2021 Census about jobs in Canada, recent newcomers are faring better than previous cohorts in terms of certain labour market outcomes.
Full-time work up in December
The increase in employment in December was driven by full-time work (+85,000; +0.5%), which rose for a third consecutive month.
Full-time work also led employment growth over the course of the year ending in December 2022. On a year-over-year basis, employment was up by 394,000 (+2.0%), entirely due to gains in full-time work (+401,000; +2.5%).
Private sector drives employment growth in December
The number of employees in the private sector rose by 112,000 (+0.9%) in December, the largest increase since February 2022. This brought the year-over-year increase in private sector employees to 325,000 (+2.6%).
In contrast, the number of employees in the public sector and the number of self-employed workers were both little changed on a monthly and year-over-year basis in December.
More employees absent due to illness
In the context of elevated cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses in many parts of the country, 8.1% of employees were absent due to illness or disability during the LFS reference week (December 4 to 10), up from 6.8% in November. This was higher than the pre-pandemic average of 6.9% for the month of December from 2017 to 2019, but below the record high of 10.0% set in January 2022, when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was spreading across Canada (not seasonally adjusted).
Nearly 1 in 10 workers had a hybrid work arrangement in December
In December, 9.6% of workers had a hybrid work arrangement—that is, they usually worked partly at home and partly in locations other than home. This was little changed from the proportion recorded in November (9.4%) but up 6.0 percentage points compared with January 2022. The proportion of workers who usually work exclusively at home was little changed at 15.8% in December (population aged 15 to 69, not seasonally adjusted).
Unemployment rate ticks down in December
In December, the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%. This was the third decline in four months and left the rate just above the record low of 4.9% reached in June and July. The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job but did not look for one—fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.8% in December.
In December, the unemployment rate among core-aged men declined 0.2 percentage points to 4.1%, just above the record low of 4.0% observed in June and July. For women in this age group, the rate was little changed for a third consecutive month, at a record-low 4.0% in December.
The unemployment rate among youth was 10.1% in December, little changed from November and 0.9 percentage points above the record low of 9.2% recorded in June and July.
Among people aged 55 and older, the unemployment rate among men increased 0.4 percentage points to 4.6% in December, while the rate among women was little changed. For both men and women in this group, the unemployment rate declined markedly in the first six months of 2022 and ended the year down 2.1 percentage points compared with December 2021.
The participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 65.0% in December, as the labour force—the total number of people who were either employed or unemployed—grew by 91,000 (+0.4%).
Employment up in multiple industries
Following a decrease in November, the number of people working in construction rose by 35,000 (+2.3%) in December. Increases were observed in four provinces, led by Ontario (+16,000; +2.7%) and Alberta (+13,000; +5.8%). According to the latest Statistics Canada data, investment in building construction had edged up 0.2% nationally in October , with Ontario accounting for nearly all the gains. On a year-over-year basis, employment in construction was up by 84,000 (+5.8%) in December.
In transportation and warehousing, employment rose by 29,000 (+3.0%) in December, recouping earlier losses of 18,000 in September and marking the industry's first notable gain since November 2021.
Employment in information, culture and recreation was up by 25,000 (+3.1%) in December, building on the gain of 16,000 recorded in November. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in information, culture and recreation grew by 57,000 (+7.2%) in December.
The number of people working in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 23,000 (+1.3%) in December, with gains mostly in Ontario (+22,000; +2.8%). Employment in this industry has trended upward since the summer of 2020. On a year-over-year basis, employment growth in professional, scientific and technical services (+122,000; +7.1%) accounted for the largest share of total employment gains across all industries.
There were also more people working in accommodation and food services (+13,000; +1.2%), public administration (+11,000; +0.9%), and "other services" (+10,000; +1.3%) in December.
Employment fell in health care and social assistance (-17,000; -0.7%) in December despite the record high numbers of job vacancies in the industry in recent months. Declines in health care and social assistance were concentrated in Ontario (-11,000; -1.2%) and Quebec (-10,000; -1.7%). At the national level, the number of workers in this industry was relatively unchanged on a year-over-year basis.
Employment up in six provinces in December
Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan in December. There was little change in the other provinces. For further information on key province and industry level labour market indicators, see "Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app."
In Ontario, employment rose 42,000 (+0.5%) in December and was up 105,000 (+1.4%) on a year-over-year basis. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.3% in December, 0.8 percentage points lower than in December 2021. In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, employment was little changed in December, while the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 5.7%.
In Alberta, employment rose by 25,000 (+1.0%) in December, the first notable increase since May 2022. The unemployment rate remained at 5.8%. On a year-over-year basis, employment was up by 89,000 (+3.9%) and the unemployment rate was down 1.7 percentage points.
Employment in British Columbia increased by 17,000 (+0.6%) in December, offsetting a decline in November, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.2%. In the Vancouver CMA, the unemployment rate (4.4%) was little changed in December.
Employment in Manitoba was up 7,000 (+1.0%) in December, the third increase in four months. The province's unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.4%.
In Saskatchewan, employment increased (+4,200; +0.7%) in December, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.1%.
While employment rose (+6,700; +2.9%) in Newfoundland and Labrador in December, the unemployment rate (10.1%) remained the highest among the provinces.
In Quebec, employment held steady in December, following gains in three of the previous four months. The unemployment rate (4.0%) remained near record lows. On a year-over-year basis, employment increased by 79,000 (+1.8%) in Quebec and the provincial unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points.
Quarterly update for the territories
The employment rate in the Northwest Territories was 71.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022, little changed from the third quarter. Similarly, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1%.
In Yukon, the unemployment rate increased 2.3 percentage points to 4.8% in the fourth quarter. The employment rate (71.0%) was little changed from the previous two quarters.
Employment in Nunavut held steady in the fourth quarter, and the employment rate was 55.1%. The unemployment rate was 12.6% in the three months ending in December, little changed from the third quarter.
In the Spotlight: About 250,000 Canadians provided ride or delivery services through apps in the previous 12 months
The gig economy and the digital economy have contributed to the emergence or growth of some forms of employment, including: digital platform employment, in which workers and potential clients are connected through digital applications or platforms; dependent contractor relationships, in which workers have some of the attributes of self-employed workers and some aspects of an employer-employee relationship; and gig employment, which is characterized by short-term tasks, projects, or jobs, with no assurance of steady employment.
To ensure that new forms of employment are fully captured in the concepts and definitions used by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), Statistics Canada has worked with international counterparts and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to produce the Handbook on Forms of Employment.
Reflecting these international guidelines, Statistics Canada is releasing new information on the prevalence of digital platform employment, which typically involves three parties: workers, clients, and a digital platform which coordinates certain aspects of the work, such as matching workers with clients, rating workers, or handling payments. Within the digital platform economy, ride and delivery services are among the most visible, providing a convenient option for personal transportation or to order food and groceries.
New LFS data for December show that 79,000 Canadians had provided taxi or rideshare services through an application or digital platform in the previous 12 months, while 207,000 had provided delivery services for food or other goods. For 58,000 of these workers, working through digital platforms or apps was their main job in the December LFS reference week, representing 0.3% of the approximately 19 million people who were employed in December (population aged 16 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Those who had provided ride or delivery services were more likely to live in large urban areas, and nearly half of them (49.0%) lived in the CMAs of Toronto (22.4%), Montréal (14.0%) or Vancouver (12.6%). Among people who had provided ride or delivery services, 41.4% had postsecondary education below the bachelor's level and 38.8% had a bachelor's degree or higher. Men (73.1%) and landed immigrants (55.7%) represented the majority of rideshare and delivery drivers (population aged 16 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Other common services that Canadians had provided through digital platforms for income in the previous 12 months include the creation of content such as videos, blogs, or podcasts (58,000 people), programming, coding, web or graphic design (42,000) and teaching or tutoring (41,000). In contrast to ride and delivery services, women represented the majority (58.4%) of people who created content for income through a digital platform or app (population aged 16 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
Future releases from Statistics Canada will focus on the prevalence of dependent contractor relationships and the number of Canadians involved in gig employment.
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 December 2021 and December 2022, 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 December are for the week of December 4 to 10, 2022.
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
Face-to-face personal interviewing resumed in November 2022, for the first time since February 2020. Telephone interviews continued to be conducted by interviewers working from their homes rather than Statistics Canada's call centres, as they have since March 2020. Close to 49,000 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 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 2022 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.'
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.
Revisions to the Labour Force Survey
There are three main components to the revision:
1. All occupation data, starting in January 1987, will be revised to use the latest standard, National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021.
2. Enhancements to the LFS imputation system will be implemented retroactively back to January 2006.
3. The standard annual revision to seasonal adjustment factors will be implemented over a longer time span, to account for changes in estimates resulting from the NOC update and imputation enhancements.
The next release of the LFS will be on February 10, 2023. January 2023 data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of January 15 to 21, 2023.
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, provinces, territories and economic regions.
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; email@example.com) or Media Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).