Labour Force Survey, February 2023
Employment held steady in February (+22,000; +0.1%), and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%.
Employment grew in health care and social assistance (+15,000; +0.6%), public administration (+10,000; +0.9%), and utilities (+7,500; +5.0%). At the same time, fewer people worked in business, building and other support services (-11,000; -1.5%).
There was little change in employment among core-aged adults (25 to 54 years old) and youth (15 to 24 years old). Employment among those aged 55 to 64 rose by 25,000 (+0.7%) in February, continuing a strong upward trend since August 2022.
The number of employees grew in the private sector (+39,000; +0.3%), while there was little change in public sector employment and in the number of self-employed.
Employment increased in New Brunswick (+5,100; +1.3%), Manitoba (+4,900; +0.7%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+3,800; +1.6%) and Prince Edward Island (+1,700; +2.0%), and declined in Nova Scotia (-4,700; -0.9%). There was little change in employment in the other provinces.
Total hours worked rose 0.6% in February and were up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis.
Average hourly wages rose 5.4% (+$1.69 to $33.16) on a year-over-year basis in February, compared with 4.5% (+$1.42) in January (not seasonally adjusted).
Employment rose for women in the six months to February.
Employment in professional, scientific and technical services held steady in January and February, following strong growth in 2022.
Employment holds steady in February
Employment was little changed in February (+22,000; +0.1%), following two consecutive monthly increases in December (+69,000; +0.3%) and January (+150,000; +0.8%). Employment has trended upward since September 2022, and there were 348,000 (+1.8%) more employed persons in Canada in February 2023 than in August 2022.
The employment rate—the percentage of people aged 15 and older who are employed—was 62.4% in the month, down 0.1 percentage points from the recent high observed in January. The rate in January was the highest since May 2019 (62.5%).
Employment rises in health care and social assistance for the second consecutive month
The number of people employed in health care and social assistance grew by 15,000 (+0.6%) in February, building on a gain of 40,000 (+1.5%) recorded in January. According to the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, the number of job vacancies in the industry has remained elevated, despite unmet labour demand moderating in other industries. On a year-over-year basis, employment was up by 44,000 (+1.7%) in health care and social assistance.
There were also more people employed in public administration (+10,000; +0.9%) in February, the third gain in five months. The monthly gain in the industry—which includes those working for federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments—was concentrated in Ontario (+7,600; +1.7%) and New Brunswick (+1,500; +4.3%). Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in public administration was up by 85,000 (+7.7%) in February.
Employment fell in business, building and other support services (-11,000; -1.5%) in February, marking the first notable decline since October 2021 for the industry. The monthly decline was concentrated in Ontario (-16,000; -5.3%). The number of people employed in business, building and other support services—which includes activities that support the day-to-day operations of organizations, ranging from waste management to administrative services—remained on par with the level seen 12 months earlier.
Following a notable increase in January (+59,000; +2.0%), employment was little changed in wholesale and retail trade in February. Employment in the industry was 89,000 (-2.9%) below the recent high reached in May 2022.
The number of people working in construction was also little changed in February, following two consecutive monthly gains in December (+27,000; +1.7%) and January (+16,000; +1.0%).
More women aged 55 to 64 are employed
Employment was little changed among those aged 55 and older in February, but it increased by 25,000 (+0.7%) among those 55 to 64. Employment for both men and women aged 55 to 64 has been on a strong upward trend since August 2022.
Employment for women aged 55 to 64 rose by 30,000 (+1.9%) in February. Over 6 in 10 (60.8%) women in this age group were employed in February, the highest proportion on record. This was up 1.2 percentage points from the preceding high reached in January (59.6%).
Employment for men in this age group held steady, and their employment rate was 70.3%, little changed from the rate in January (70.5%), which had been the highest since 1981.
On a year-over-year basis, employment gains among people aged 55 to 64 were broad-based in February, including increases in manufacturing (+38,000; +10.1%), professional, scientific and technical services (+26,000; +10.1%), "other services" (+14,000; +11.3%), and agriculture (+11,000; +28.1%) (not seasonally adjusted).
Retirement decisions can be influenced by labour market conditions, financial considerations and many other factors, and may impact labour market trends for groups approaching retirement age. The proportion of people aged 55 to 64 who cited retirement as their main activity was down 0.7 percentage points to 18.0% in the 12 months to February 2023. Among those aged 60 to 64, 26.5% cited retirement as their main activity in February 2023, compared with 27.7% a year earlier (not seasonally adjusted).
Little change in employment for core-aged adults and youth
Employment was virtually unchanged among core-aged adults (25 to 54 years old) in February. The employment rate for women in this age group edged down 0.2 percentage points to 82.0% in February, but remained near the record high of 82.2% reached in January.
Meanwhile, the employment rate of core-aged men stood at 88.1% in February, down 0.2 percentage points from January and 0.3 percentage points lower than the peak of 88.4% reached in March and April 2022. On a year-over-year basis, there were 120,000 (+2.0%) more core-age women employed in February, and 114,000 (+1.7%) more core-age men.
There was little change in youth employment from the previous month, and their employment rate stood at 59.5% in February—up 1.8 percentage points from the rate recorded in September 2022 (57.7%). In February 2023, employment for youth rose by 45,000 (+1.7%) from 12 months earlier, matching their population growth.
Year-over-year growth in average hourly wages above 5%
On a year-over-year basis, average hourly wages rose 5.4% (+$1.69) to reach $33.16 in February. Year-over-year growth in average hourly wages in February was the same for men and for women. Growth was higher than in January (+4.5%) and December (+4.8%), but lower than in November (+5.8%) (not seasonally adjusted).
Unemployment remains near record low
The unemployment rate held steady at 5.0% in February, just shy of the record-low 4.9% observed in June and July of 2022.
In February 2023, the unemployment rate fell for men aged 55 and older (-0.4 percentage points to 4.2%), and for women of the same age group (-0.4 percentage points to 4.0%). At the same time, it increased among core-age women to 4.3%, up from the record-low of 4.0% observed in January. There was little change among the other major demographic groups.
There were just over 1.0 million unemployed persons in Canada in February, virtually unchanged from January. Most unemployed people (67.6%) in February had been unemployed for 13 weeks or less. The proportion who had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more—the long-term unemployed—was 14.4% in February, down from 18.3% a year earlier.
The labour force participation rate also held steady at 65.7% in February and was up 0.5 percentage points compared with September 2022. Labour force participation increased markedly among core-age women (+0.6 percentage points to 85.7%) and women aged 55 to 64 (+1.8 percentage points to 63.3%) from September to February, which helped boost the overall participation rate in recent months and offset the downward pressures of population aging on labour force participation.
Employment up in four provinces in February
Employment rose in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Manitoba in February, but declined in Nova Scotia. 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."
Employment grew by 2.0% (+1,700) in Prince Edward Island in February, the second increase in three months. More Prince Edward Islanders were employed full-time in February (+2,400). The province's unemployment rate was 7.3%.
In February, Newfoundland and Labrador recorded a second employment increase in three months (+3,800; +1.6%) and the unemployment rate fell to 9.9% (-1.9 percentage points). In the St. John's census metropolitan area (CMA), the unemployment rate was 6.2% (three-month moving average).
In February, employment in New Brunswick increased by 1.3% (+5,100), also the second monthly employment increase in three months. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 17,000 (+4.7%). In the 12 months to February, the employment rate rose 1.1 percentage points to 56.8% and the unemployment rate fell 1.2 percentage points to 6.3%.
Following three months of little change, employment increased 4,900 (+0.7%) in February in Manitoba, driven by full-time employment. The unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points to 4.7% and the labour force participation rate increased to 67.1% (+0.7 percentage points). The unemployment rate in the Winnipeg CMA was 4.5% (three-month moving average).
Nova Scotia was the only province to record an employment decline in February (-4,700; -0.9%). However, in the 12 months to February, employment in the province rose by 16,000 (+3.2%). The unemployment rate increased 0.7 percentage points in February to 5.7%.
Employment in Quebec was little changed in February and the unemployment rate (4.1%) remained near the record low of 3.9% reached in January 2023 and November 2022. The unemployment rate in the CMA of Québec was 1.9% in February, the lowest of all CMAs in Canada, and down 0.5 percentage points in the month (three-month moving averages). In the CMA of Montréal, employment was little changed, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.0% (+0.4 percentage points).
Employment in Ontario held steady in February after gains in three of the previous four months. The unemployment rate (5.1%) was little changed compared with January. The Toronto CMA saw employment increase by 57,000 (+1.6%) in February, and the unemployment rate was 5.6%.
In the spotlight: employment rises for women in the six months to February
March 8 was International Women's Day, a global day to recognize and celebrate women's and girls' social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.
In February 2023, 58.9% of women aged 15 and older were employed, up from 58.1% in August 2022, but lower than the record high of 59.2% reached in October 2007. Employment for women rose by 214,000 from August 2022 to February 2023, accounting for 61% of employment growth over the period.
The 9.6 million employed women in February represented 47.8% of total employment. In comparison, women comprised 36.9% of total employment when comparable data first became available in 1976.
Although the gender gap in hourly wages among employees has declined over time, men continue to earn more than women. In February 2023, women earned $30.67 per hour on average, compared with $35.63 per hour on average for men.
In the spotlight: employment growth in professional, scientific and technical services holds steady in January and February, following strong growth in 2022
The professional, scientific and technical services industry comprises a diverse range of subsectors employing highly skilled workers, including computer systems design and related services, architectural, engineering and related services as well as scientific research and development services. The industry has been an important driver of employment growth, accounting for over one-third (35.6%) of total net employment growth in the three years to February 2023.
On a year-over-year basis, employment in professional, scientific and technical services was up 4.7% (+84,000) in February, outpacing growth across all industries (+2.1%). In addition, hourly wages of employees in the industry were up 9.6% (+$3.83 to $43.69) over the same period, the fastest growth rate across industries.
More recently, employment has held steady in both January and February. This coincides with the most recent results from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, which showed that in December job vacancies in the industry (58,100) were down from the record high (73,200) recorded in April 2022.
The next release of the LFS will be on April 6, 2023. March 2023 data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of March 12 to 18, 2023.
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 February 2022 and February 2023, 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 February are for the week of February 12 to 18, 2023.
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. 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. More than 47,000 interviews were completed in February 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.
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
On January 30, 2023, revised LFS data were released, resulting in minor changes to recent and historical LFS data.
There are three main components to the revision:
1. To align LFS data with the most recent version of the National Occupational Classification, as is done every five years;
2. To introduce enhancements to the rules and parameters used in the editing and imputation of LFS data to take full advantage of data processing and information technology systems changes made in 2019; and
3. To fine-tune the parameters used in the seasonal adjustment of LFS estimates, as is done every year.
These revisions ensure that survey estimates accurately reflect the Canadian labour market, while having minimal impact on the comparability of labour market indicators, such as employment, unemployment and participation rates, over time.
Starting with the release of the January 2023 data, LFS data will be aligned with the revised series.
The next release of the LFS will be on April 6, 2023. March 2023 data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of March 12 to 18, 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; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).
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