Employment dipped 13,000 in May, the second consecutive monthly decline.
A jump in the number of people entering the labour market in search of
work pushed the unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 7.8%.
So far in 2003, employment growth has been relatively weak compared to
2002. In the first five months of the year, employment has increased 35,000,
or 0.2%, not enough to keep pace with population growth. By this point
in 2002, employment had surged 249,000 (+1.6%).
The share of the population which was employed (employment rate) was 62.2%,
down 0.3 percentage points from the record high set in February and March
of this year. However, the employment rate in Canada has been higher than
the rate in the United States since October 2002.
While full-time employment is up 76,000 (+0.6%) so far in 2003, it fell
20,000 in May. Youths accounted for most of the full-time decline in May.
Health care employment in Ontario recovered in May from the losses the
month before while a gain in accommodation and food only partially offset
the loss in April. The reference week of the Labour Force Survey (May 11th
to 17th), occurred after the end of the first outbreak and before the second
round of SARS hit Toronto.
Drop in employment for adult men
Employment among adult men fell 23,000 in May, with almost two-thirds
of the decline in part-time. Losses for adult men were widespread in a
number of industries with the largest decline in retail and wholesale trade.
The unemployment rate for adult men increased 0.3 percentage points to
Part-time gains among youths offset full-time losses, leaving overall
youth employment unchanged for the month. With more youths looking for
work, their unemployment rate increased 0.4 percentage points to 13.8%.
Despite the lack of job growth in May for youths as a whole, the summer
job market for students was better than it was a year earlier. The employment
rate for 20 to 24 year old students (those who had been attending school
full-time and who planned on returning in the fall) was 61.2%, up 1.6 percentage
points from May 2002. However, all the increase in summer employment for
students has come in the form of part-time work.
For adult women, employment was up slightly (+13,000), with all of the
gain in full-time. The largest increase for adult women came in health
care and social assistance. There was also a large increase in labour force
participation among adult women, pushing their unemployment rate up 0.3
percentage points to 6.6%.
Compared to the start of the year, employment among adult women and youths
is virtually unchanged, in sharp contrast to the strong upward trend in
2002. Despite this month’s decline, employment for adult men remains
30,000 higher than at the start of the year (+0.4%).
Manufacturing employment stalled
Manufacturing employment was unchanged in May. After rebounding in the
first half of 2002, manufacturing employment has been on a downward trend
since last August (-65,000 or -2.7%), driven mainly by declines in transportation
equipment and computer and electronic product manufacturing. In May, transportation
equipment manufacturing fell but this was offset by gains in food processing
and other non-durable goods production.
In May, there were 278,000 people employed in food processing, the second
largest component of the manufacturing sector in Canada (after transportation
equipment). The case of mad cow in Alberta was reported on May 20th, just
after the end of the Labour Force Survey reference week. As a result, any
impact of mad cow on the labour market would not be reflected in the May
Employment fell in a number of service-producing industries in May. The
largest drop was in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing which was
down 19,000. However, this remains a growth industry, due to the booming
real estate sector. In the last year, employment in finance, insurance,
real estate and leasing is up 33,000 (+3.7%), with half of the increase
coming from real estate. Construction employment was up slightly in May
and is 44,000 (5.1%) higher than a year ago.
In May, retail and wholesale trade employment fell 14,000. After strong
gains in the 1998 to 2001 period, trade employment growth slowed in 2002,
and has been unchanged so far this year.
Transportation and warehousing employment fell 12,000 in May, driven by
a decline of 21,000 in Ontario. Since peaking in September 2002, transportation
and warehousing employment has fallen 38,000 (-4.8%), with all of the decline
After falling 18,000 in April, employment in accommodation and food fell
another 11,000 in May. While April’s decline was concentrated in
restaurants in Toronto, the decline in May occurred in restaurants in the
province of Quebec. Toronto saw some recovery in accommodation and food
employment in May.
Gains in information, culture and recreation
The largest gain in employment in May was in information, culture and
recreation, where an additional 20,000 people were employed. Gains were
made in publishing and gambling.
Following a decline of 17,000 the month before, health care and social
assistance employment increased 18,000 in May, with 11,000 of the gains
in Ontario. This puts health care and social assistance back on its strong
upward trend. In the last year, employment in the industry has increased
Added employment in the building maintenance services industry in May
pushed employment up 13,000 in the management, administrative and other
business support services sector. In the last year, this sector has been
adding workers at a rapid pace. Compared to May 2002, there are 36,000
(+6.0%) more people working in management, administrative and other support
Employment trend flattens in Ontario
After strong job gains in the second half of 2002 and into the early part
of 2003, employment growth has stalled in Ontario in the last two months.
A large drop in full-time was offset by part-time gains leaving employment
in the province in May unchanged. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage
points to 7.1% due to a large number of people entering the labour force.
In Toronto, food and accommodation recovered about a third of the loss
in April while gains in health care in May fully offset the losses the
month earlier. However, there was a large drop in transportation and warehousing,
dragging overall employment down 11,000 in the city. In both Ottawa and
Oshawa there were continued job gains, helping offset the loss in Toronto.
With drops in accommodation and food and public administration, employment
was down slightly in Quebec and the unemployment rate in the province rose
0.2 percentage points to 9.3% in May. So far in 2003, employment in Quebec
has dropped 17,000 (-0.5%).
Although full-time employment in British Columbia increased 13,000, part-time
declined 21,000, pushing the unemployment rate up half a percentage point
to 8.6% in May.
Following a decline of 5,000 in April, employment fell by another 9,000
in May in New Brunswick. This caused the unemployment rate to leap 1.7
percentage points to 12.0%. Losses were widespread in a number of industries,
but the largest decline was in food manufacturing. Almost all the decline
was in full-time work.
The only province with a notable increase in employment in May was Alberta,
where an additional 13,000 people were employed, due to gains in oil and
gas, education and health care and social assistance. With more people
also looking for work, the unemployment rate in Alberta increased slightly
to 5.6% (+0.1 percentage points).
There were no significant changes in employment in any of the other provinces.