Labour Force Survey, October 2023
Employment was little changed in October (+18,000; +0.1%) and the employment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 61.9%.
The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.7%, marking the fourth monthly increase in the past six months.
Employment was up in construction (+23,000; +1.5%) and information, culture and recreation (+21,000; +2.5%) in October. This was offset by decreases in wholesale and retail trade (-22,000; -0.7%) and manufacturing (-19,000; -1.0%).
Employment increased in four provinces in October, led by Alberta (+38,000; +1.5%), while it declined in Quebec (-22,000; -0.5%).
Total hours worked were virtually unchanged in October but were up by 2.1% on a year-over-year basis.
On a year-over-year basis, average hourly wages rose 4.8% (+$1.56 to $34.08) in October, following an increase of 5.0% in September.
Employment holds steady in October
Employment was little changed in October (+18,000; +0.1%), after increasing by 64,000 (+0.3%) in September and by 40,000 (+0.2%) in August. Both full-time and part-time employment held steady in October.
The employment rate—the proportion of the working-age population that is employed—fell 0.1 percentage points to 61.9% in October, as the population aged 15 and older in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) increased by 85,000 (+0.3%).
Since January 2023, employment growth has averaged 28,000 per month, while growth in the population aged 15 and older in the LFS has averaged 81,000 per month. The employment rate in October (61.9%) was down from the recent peak of 62.5% recorded in January 2023, but was little changed from October 2022 (62.0%). The employment rate has varied between 61.9% and 62.0% since July 2023.
Employment up among men aged 55 and older
Among men aged 55 and older, employment rose by 31,000 (+1.3%) in October, the first increase for this group since April. Employment was unchanged for women aged 55 and older.
Employment among core-aged (aged 25 to 54) men and women was little changed in October. While there was an increase (+28,000; +0.5%) in full-time employment among core-aged women, this was offset by a decrease in part-time employment for that same group (-24,000; -2.4%).
For those aged 15 to 24, employment in October was also little changed. Increases among male youth (+14,000; +1.0%) were concentrated in part-time employment but were offset by decreases in female youth employment (-19,000; -1.5%), which were concentrated in full-time work.
Unemployment rate increases in October, continuing upward trend since April
The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to reach 5.7% in October, marking the fourth monthly increase in the past six months. Since April, the rate has increased by 0.7 percentage points, after holding steady at a near record-low 5.0% from December 2022 to April 2023.
There were 1.2 million unemployed persons in October, an increase of 171,000 (+16.2%) since April. Among those who were unemployed in September, 60.1% remained unemployed in October—a greater proportion than 12 months earlier (55.4%) (not seasonally adjusted), and an indication that job seekers are facing more difficulties finding employment than a year ago.
As unemployment has increased and job vacancies have decreased in recent months, the labour force participation rate—the proportion of the population aged 15 and older that was either employed or looking for work—has remained relatively high. The participation rate in October (65.6%) was unchanged from the previous month and up 0.2 percentage points on a year-over-year basis.
Youth unemployment rate trends up
The unemployment rate among youth (aged 15 to 24 years) increased by 0.9 percentage points in October to reach 11.4%. From March to October, the unemployment rate rose by 2.7 percentage points among female youth and by 1.8 percentage points among male youth. On a year-over-year basis, the youth unemployment rate for students was up 1.9 percentage points to 11.1% in October, while it was little changed at 10.7% for non-students (not seasonally adjusted).
The youth unemployment rate has historically been higher than that for older adults, but the size of the difference has varied over time. In October, the youth unemployment rate (11.4%) was 2.4 times the corresponding rate for adults aged 25 to 54 (4.8%). This represents an increase from March, when the youth unemployment rate was 2.1 times the rate of core-aged adults, but was virtually unchanged from the pre-pandemic 2019 average.
In October, the unemployment rate remained notably higher for youth who were part of a racialized group and for Indigenous youth.
Among the largest racialized groups, the unemployment rate was higher in October for Black (17.7%) and Chinese (14.7%) Canadian youth than for the total youth population (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted). The rate for South Asian Canadians was 12.7%, similar to the overall youth unemployment rate. On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate was little changed among South Asian and Chinese Canadian youth, but it was up by 3.9 percentage points among Black youth.
In October, the unemployment rate for First Nations youth living off-reserve was 16.4%, up 4.2 percentage points on a year-over-year basis. Among Métis youth, the unemployment rate was 13.2%, little changed from the same month in 2022.
More workers in construction and in information, culture and recreation
In construction, employment increased by 23,000 (+1.5%) in October, more than offsetting a decline of 18,000 (-1.1%) in September. Despite the increase, employment in this industry in October was little changed from the same month in 2022, and down by 32,000 (-2.0%) from the record high reached in January 2023.
Employment in information, culture, and recreation rose by 21,000 (+2.5%) in October, partly offsetting decreases in September (-12,000; -1.4%) and July (-16,000; -1.8%) (there was little change in August). On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry—which includes telecommunications carriers, broadcasting providers, and amusement and recreation—was up by 7.8% (+61,000) in October, outpacing growth across all industries (+2.5%). Employment in the industry began an upward trend in the fall of 2022 and reached a record-high level in May 2023.
In wholesale and retail trade, employment declined by 22,000 (-0.7%) in October, the first decline since October 2022. Employment in this industry was up by 49,000 (+1.7%) on a year-over-year basis.
In manufacturing, employment fell by 19,000 (-1.0%) in October 2023, but was little changed on a year-over-year basis.
Employment in health care and social assistance remained little changed in October for the third month in a row. Year over year, employment in this industry grew by 60,000 (+2.3%), similar to the average pace of growth across all industries (+2.5%). According to the most recent data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, available for the month of August 2023, job vacancies in health care and social assistance had not declined from the same month the previous year, unlike in most other sectors, and the job vacancy rate in August 2023 was the second-highest of any sector.
Employment up in four provinces in October, while Quebec records a decline
Employment rose in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in October, while it declined in Quebec. 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 increased by 38,000 (+1.5%) in Alberta in October, offsetting the decline in September. The unemployment rate was little changed at 5.8%. In the 12 months to October, employment in the province rose by 92,000 (+3.8%) with sizable gains in health care and social assistance, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and natural resources.
In Saskatchewan, employment increased by 9,100 (+1.5%) in October, the second consecutive monthly increase. The unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.4%, while the employment rate rose 0.8 percentage points to 64.5%.
Employment increased in Nova Scotia (+8,200; +1.7%) and New Brunswick (+2,400; +0.6%) in October. The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.6% in Nova Scotia, and was down 0.6 percentage points to 6.6% in New Brunswick.
In Quebec, employment fell by 22,000 (-0.5%) in October, after increasing by 39,000 (+0.9%) in September. From January to August 2023, employment in the province varied little. The unemployment rate in October rose 0.5 percentage points to 4.9% and the employment rate decreased 0.4 percentage points to 61.9%. In the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA), the unemployment rate increased 1.0 percentage points and reached 6.0% in October.
Employment was little changed in Ontario in October for the fourth consecutive month. The employment rate in October (61.4%) was down 0.3 percentage points from September and 0.9 percentage points from the recent high of 62.3% in April 2023. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% in October, mostly due to more youth searching for work.
In the spotlight: One in three Canadians live in a household experiencing financial difficulties
Inflationary pressures have eased compared with 2022, and year-over-year growth in the Consumer Price Index decelerated from a peak of 8.1% in June 2022 to 3.8% in September 2023. However, the higher cost of essential goods and services continues to place financial pressures on many households across Canada. In September, for example, increases in the cost of shelter (+6.0%) and food (+5.9%) outpaced annual wage growth (+5.0%).
In October 2023, 1 in 3 Canadians aged 15 and older (33.1%) was living in a household that had found it difficult or very difficult to meet its financial needs in terms of transportation, housing, food, clothing and other necessary expenses over the previous four weeks (not seasonally adjusted). This included nearly 1 in 10 (9.3%) Canadians living in a household that found it very difficult to meet financial needs. While the proportion of people in households finding it either difficult or very difficult to meet financial needs in October 2023 was down slightly compared with the same month a year earlier (35.5%), it remained notably higher than the proportion recorded in October 2020 (20.4%).
In October 2023, people living in a rented dwelling were more likely to be in a household experiencing difficulties meeting financial needs (41.3%), compared with those living in a dwelling owned by a household member with a mortgage (36.1%) or without a mortgage (20.0%).
Among Canadians living in dual-earner households with children, 36.1% experienced difficulties meeting financial needs in October. Among single-earner households with children, this proportion increased to 45.5%.
Nearly half (48.7%) of those living in lone-parent families in which the parent was employed reported difficulties meeting their financial needs. The proportion increased to almost 7 in 10 (69.8%) among lone-parent families in which the parent was not employed.
Among immigrants who had landed in the previous 10 years, 44.7% lived in a household that found it difficult or very difficult to meet its financial needs, compared with 30.8% for people born in Canada.
Among the largest racialized population groups, South Asian (47.0%) and Black (43.9%) Canadians were more likely to be in a household experiencing difficulties meeting its financial needs. The proportion was lower for Chinese Canadians (26.8%).
Among First Nations people living off-reserve, 39.5% lived in a household experiencing financial difficulties, and for Métis the proportion was 40.6%.
Among the 20 largest CMAs in Canada, the highest proportions of persons living in households reporting difficulties meeting financial needs were in Southern Ontario, led by St. Catharines–Niagara (41.8%), Windsor (41.0%), Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (40.7%) and Toronto (38.1%). In contrast, the proportion was lowest in Québec (20.5%), Kelowna (26.7%) and Gatineau (26.9%).
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 2022 and October 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 October are for the week of October 8 to 14, 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. About 48,200 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 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.
Information on racialized groups
A new set of data tables presenting annual employment characteristics of racialized groups is now available on the Statistics Canada website (14-10-0438-01, 14-10-0438-02, and 14-10-0438-03). The employment characteristics included in these tables are class of worker, industry and occupation.
Data on "racialized groups" are derived from the "visible minority" variable. "Visible minority" refers to whether or not a person belongs to one of the visible minority groups defined by the Employment Equity Act. The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese.
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.
Population growth in the Labour Force Survey
The LFS target population includes all persons aged 15 years and older whose usual place of residence is in Canada, with the exception of those living on reserves, full-time members of the regular Armed Forces and persons living in institutions (including inmates of penal institutions and patients in hospitals and nursing homes).
The LFS target population includes temporary residents—that is, those with a valid work or study permit, their families, and refugee claimants—as well as permanent residents (landed immigrants) and the Canadian-born.
Information gathered from LFS respondents is weighted to represent the survey target population using population calibration totals. These totals are updated each month, using the most recently available information on population changes, including changes in the number of non-permanent residents. LFS population calibration totals are derived from Canada's official population estimates using similar sources and methods, with minor adjustments being made to reflect exclusions from the LFS target population.
The next release of the LFS will be on December 1, 2023. November 2023 data will reflect labour market conditions during the week of November 5 to 11, 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).