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Labour Force Information
October 2004

Employment rose by an estimated 34,000 in October, the second consecutive monthly increase, following little change over the summer months. The unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 7.1% as more people entered the labour force. Job growth so far this year is up 1.2% (+190,000) with all of the gains in full-time employment, while hours worked have increased by 1.5%.

At the industry level, retail and wholesale trade, construction, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, and professional, scientific and technical services have been the main source of job growth so far this year, while losses were concentrated in agriculture, and accommodation and food services. Among the provinces, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Ontario have exceeded the national employment growth rate observed over the first ten months of 2004.

More adult men working

Employment rose by 20,000 in October among adult men, bringing gains so far this year to 118,000 (+1.6%). Full-time employment jumped by 33,000 in October while part-time employment edged down 13,000. All of the job gains so far this year among adult men have been in full-time work (+159,000).

For adult women, employment was little changed for the fifth consecutive month. Over the first ten months of 2004, employment among adult women has risen by only 0.7% (+45,000) and contrasts with the first ten months of 2003 when employment grew by 1.8% (+109,000).

There was little change in youth employment in October. So far this year youth employment is up 1.1% (+27,000) with most of the increase among older youths aged 20 to 24.

More people working in sales

In October, employment increased by an estimated 45,000 in retail and wholesale trade with most of the gain occurring in Ontario. With this month’s increase, year-to-date employment gains for the sector total 68,000 (+2.7%). The increase in trade employment coincides with brisk sales at cash registers this year among retailers and wholesalers.

The construction sector continued to be a pillar of strength for employment, adding 14,000 jobs in October. Employment in construction has shown an upward trend for about three years and gains over the first ten months of 2004 total 56,000 (+5.8%). Employment gains in construction have been particularly strong so far this year in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Despite a decline of 16,000 in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing in October, employment in the sector has been robust over the first ten months of 2004, up 3.6% (+35,000).

Employment also fell in transportation and warehousing in October, down 19,000, mostly in Ontario. The decline this month leaves employment in the sector at about the same level as at the start of the year.

The manufacturing sector continued to show little change in October as a decline of 19,000 jobs in Quebec was mostly offset by slight gains in other provinces. Employment in manufacturing at the national level has changed little since the fall of 2003.

Employment in public administration was unchanged in October. Although some employees in federal public administration were on strike during the Labour Force Survey reference week of October 10 to October 16, they are considered employed according to survey definitions. According to the Labour Force Survey, an estimated 60,000 federal employees were absent from work due to the labour dispute, resulting in the loss of 1.5 million hours or 25 hours per striking employee.

More private sector employment

In October, employment rose by 35,000 in the private sector with slight gains among private sector employees and the self-employed. There was no change in employment in the public sector. Over the first ten months of 2004, the number of self-employed has grown by 2.0% (+48,000) and the number of private sector employees has increased by only 0.8% (+83,000). Over the same period, the public sector has expanded by 1.9% (+59,000).

Provincial focus

In October, employment rose by 33,000 in Ontario, the first significant increase since last May. This leaves employment in the province up by 1.4% (+88,000) over the first ten months of 2004. The increase this month was all in part-time work and was concentrated among adult women and youths. Gains occurred in retail sales, mostly in food and beverage as well as in general merchandise stores. There were also job increases in wholesale trade, mainly in machinery and equipment wholesalers and distributors. Employment also rose in accommodation and food services. Despite the substantial job gain in October, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.5%, the result of an increase in labour force participation.

For the second consecutive month, employment increased in British Columbia, up 12,000 in October with all of the gains in full-time jobs. Increases in October were in professional, scientific and technical services as well as in construction and in agriculture. This recent employment strength offsets some of the weakness observed over the third quarter of the year and leaves employment in the province up 1.0% (+20,000) so far in 2004.

Employment increased by 5,000 in Saskatchewan, all in full-time jobs. This pushed the unemployment rate down 0.6 percentage points to 5.2%. There were job gains in construction and other services such as repairs and maintenance. The increase in October offset most of the losses that occurred over the three month period of May, June and July, leaving employment in the province up 1.0% so far in 2004.

Employment in New Brunswick fell by 3,000 in October, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 10.1%. Losses this month were concentrated in health care and social assistance as well as in information, culture and recreation. Despite the decline this month, employment in the province is up 2.2% so far in 2004 and continues to be the highest rate of growth among the provinces.

Employment in Quebec was little changed (-12,000) in October, leaving gains over the first ten months of 2004 at 39,000 (+1.1%). The largest decline this month was in manufacturing, primarily in clothing, food products, and computer and electronics. Manufacturing losses were partly offset by an increase in construction. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points in October to 8.6%.

There was little change in employment in the other provinces.

Note to readers

Important changes at the beginning of 2005

Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates will undergo extensive revisions at the beginning of 2005. Revisions will include four major changes. All estimates will be adjusted to reflect 2001 Census population counts (currently based on the 1996 Census estimates); industry estimates will be classified from the 1997 to the 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); occupation estimates will be classified from the 1991 Standard Occupation Classification to the National Occupational Classification - Statistics 2001 (NOC-S). Lastly, geography boundaries will change from the 1996 Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) to the 2001 SGC, which will affect boundaries of census metropolitan areas only.

As a result of these changes, LFS estimates will be revised back to January 1976. Users must be aware that beginning with January 2005 data, to be released on February 4, historical comparisons of estimates produced by the LFS must be made with revised historical data.

Revised historical data will be available on CANSIM at the end of January (planned release date of January 26th). LFS CANSIM tables 282-0001 to 282-0095 will not be available to the public during the week of the 15th to 23rd of January, 2005. The revised data will also be available on the Labour Force Historical Review CD-ROM, which will be released in February. If you have any questions about these changes, contact Client Services (1 866 873-8788; (613) 951-4090;

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Date Modified: 2004-11-05 Important Notices