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71-001-XIE
Labour Force Information
February 2005

Commentary

Employment edged up by an estimated 27,000 in February after three months of little change. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.0% as more people were participating in the labour force in February.

The number of hours worked rose by 0.9% in February, offsetting the decline in January. Hours worked have increased 2.3% from 12 months ago, while employment has grown by 1.5% over the same period, mostly full-time jobs.

More employment in educational services but fewer factory jobs

There were 21,000 more people working in educational services in February, with gains across several provinces, the largest occurring in Ontario . At the national level, increases were mostly in post-secondary and university education. Employment in educational services declined sharply last summer, however, it has rebounded since the fall and is now 1.8% above the level of a year ago.

In February, employment rose by 15,000 in information, culture and recreation services, offsetting the decline in January. This leaves employment in the sector at about the same level as in February 2004.

There were 13,000 more people employed in business, building and other support services in February. Following robust increases in 2002 and in the latter part of 2003, there has been little growth in this sector over the past 14 months.

Employment also rose in agriculture, up 8,000, with the bulk of the increase occurring in Ontario . Despite this gain, agricultural employment is down slightly from 12 months ago at the national level and is little changed over the same period in Ontario .

Manufacturing employment fell by 28,000 in February bringing losses over the last nine months to 43,000 (-1.9%). Most of the decline this month occurred in Ontario , but there were also significant losses in Alberta . A decline in the export of goods observed in the third and fourth quarters of 2004 and the impact of the strong Canadian dollar may have contributed to the ongoing weakness in manufacturing employment.

Employment fell by 20,000 in accommodation and food services. Since the fall, both employment and hours worked have been weak in parts of this sector, notably taverns and bars, possibly due to the National Hockey League labour dispute.

In February, the number of public sector employees rose by 38,000, offsetting a similar decline last month. Most of this month's gain was in educational services. Private sector employment edged down as a decline of 36,000 employees was mostly offset by an increase of 24,000 in the number of self-employed. Over the last 12 months, the rate of employment growth has been strongest among the self-employed (+2.7%), followed by the public sector (+2.3%) and private sector employees (+1.0%).

Adult women gain full-time jobs while more part-time work for youths

Among women aged 25 and over, full-time employment increased by 42,000 but was partly offset by a decline in part-time jobs. For adult men, there was little change in both full-time and part-time employment. Compared to 12 months ago, employment has grown at a brisker pace for adult men (+1.8%) than for adult women (+1.0%) with all of the gains in full-time jobs.

In February, there were more youths working part-time (+21,000). Over the past 12 months, youth employment is up 1.8%, led by gains in part-time.

Job gains for Ontario

In February, employment increased by 19,000 in Ontario , bringing total gains to 50,000 (+0.8%) from a year ago. There were more full-time jobs for the province in February and sectors affected by the overall employment increase include information, culture and recreation along with educational services (mostly university) and agriculture. These gains, however, were partly offset by losses in manufacturing and public administration (municipal). The decline in factory jobs was mainly due to weakness in motor vehicles and parts, furniture and related industries, as well as in chemical products manufacturing. Despite more people working in February, the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 6.8%, the result of an increase in labour force participation.

Employment edged up 3,000 in Manitoba , with gains in education, other services such as personal care, and in retail and wholesale trade. This month's increase brings employment in the province up 1.6% (+9,000) from 12 months ago.

In Quebec , a decline of 20,000 full-time jobs was offset by a similar gain in part-time, leaving employment in the province up 1.7% (+61,000) from February 2004. Despite little employment change this month, the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 8.0% as the number of people in the labour force declined by 21,000.

In Nova Scotia , the unemployment rate rose 1.1 percentage points to 9.8%, mainly the result of more people in the labour force looking for work. Despite little change in February, there were 6,000 (+1.4%) more people working in the province compared to 12 months ago.

There was also little change in British Columbia in February, leaving employment in the province up 3.4% (+70,000) from a year ago. Most of the job gains over the last 12 months have been in construction and in professional, scientific and technical services. The unemployment rate jumped 0.5 percentage points to 7.0% in February as more people were in the labour force searching for work.

There was little change in employment and unemployment in the other provinces in February.

Note to readers

The 2004 Labour force historical review on CD-ROM (71F0004XCB, $209) is now available. This annual product is a comprehensive database of Labour Force Survey estimates, containing thousands of cross-classified data series and spanning more than two decades from 1976 to 2004. Monthly and annual average series are available on a wide range of subjects, including labour force survey status by demographic, education and family characteristics, trends in the labour markets of metropolitan areas, economic regions, industry and occupation estimates and much more.

LAN and bulk prices are available on request. For more information, contact Client Services toll-free at 1-866-873-8788, or refer to Statistics Canada's Web Site /ads-annonces/71f0004x/index-eng.htm. To order this edition, call 1-800-267-6777, fax 1-877-287-4369, or e-mail infostats@statcan.gc.ca.



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