Analysis — September 2015
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.
Employment was little changed for the fourth consecutive month in September (+12,000 or +0.1%). The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 7.1%, as more people participated in the labour market.
Part-time employment rose by 74,000 in September, which was largely offset by a decline of 62,000 in full time.
Following gains of 63,000 (+0.4%) in the first quarter, and 33,000 (+0.2%) in the second quarter, employment grew by 31,000 (+0.2%) in the third quarter of 2015.
In the 12 months to September, employment increased by 161,000 (+0.9%), with all of the gains in full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked rose by 1.1%.
In September, employment increased among people aged 55 and older and was little changed for the other demographic groups.
Provincially, employment rose in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island, while it fell in Ontario as well as Newfoundland and Labrador.
In September, there were more people employed in information, culture and recreation; ‘other services’; health care and social assistance; as well as business, building and other support services. At the same time, employment declined in educational services.
The number of self-employed workers increased, while public sector employment declined. There was little change in the number of private sector employees.
Adjusted to the concepts used in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 6.0% in September, compared with 5.1% in the US.
Employment up for people aged 55 and older
In September, employment increased by 21,000 among people aged 55 and older, and their unemployment rate was little changed at 6.0%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment for this group grew by 129,000 (+3.7%), mainly the result of growth in their population.
For men and women aged 25 to 54, employment was little changed in September. However, employment increased by 62,000 (+0.5%) on a year-over-year basis. In September, the unemployment rate for this age group was 6.3% for men and 5.5% for women.
Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was virtually unchanged, and their unemployment rate was little changed at 13.5%. In the 12 months to September, employment among this group edged down 29,000 (-1.2%) and their unemployment rate declined 1.3 percentage points, as fewer of them participated in the labour market.
Employment up in British Columbia and Alberta, down in Ontario
Employment rose by 12,000 in British Columbia in September. However, the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 6.3%, as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province grew by 47,000 or 2.1%, the highest growth rate among the provinces.
In Alberta, employment also rose by 12,000. However, an increase in the number of people searching for work pushed the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 6.5%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up 31,000 (+1.4%), with most of the growth in part-time work.
Employment in Manitoba increased by 4,000 in September, bringing the unemployment rate down 0.5 percentage points to 5.2%. In the 12 months to September, employment gains totalled 10,000 (+1.6%).
In September, employment was little changed in Quebec and the unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 7.7%. Compared with September 2014, employment in the province increased by 47,000 (+1.2%), with most of the growth in the first four months of 2015.
In Ontario, employment fell by 34,000 in September, as full-time employment declines were partly offset by increases in part-time work. The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.9%, as fewer people participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was little changed.
Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador declined by 3,700 in September and the unemployment rate rose 2.1 percentage points to 13.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was little changed.
Employment grew by 33,000 in information, culture and recreation in September, bringing employment up 36,000 (+4.9%) over the past 12 months.
In September, there were 22,000 more people employed in ‘other services’ such as personal and laundry services as well as religious, civic and professional organizations. Despite this increase, employment in the industry was down 25,000 (-3.1%) compared with 12 months earlier.
The number of workers in health care and social assistance rose by 17,000 in September. On a year-over-year basis, employment in this industry increased by 76,000 (+3.4%).
In business, building and other support services, employment was up 16,000 in September, continuing an upward trend that began in the autumn of 2014. In the 12 months to September, employment increased by 38,000 (+5.2%).
In educational services, employment decreased by 51,000 in September, mainly in Ontario and Quebec. This decrease was widespread, with employment declines in ‘other schools and educational support’; primary and secondary schools; as well as universities. There have been a number of changes in the education sector which could impact employment, including recent provincial contract negotiations. With this decline, employment in educational services was back to a level similar to that of September 2014.
Prior to seasonal adjustment, the actual number of persons working in education increased between August and September, but less than the typical increase observed between these two months. This resulted in a decline in employment on a seasonally-adjusted basis for this industry (see "Educational services" in the note to readers).
The number of self-employed workers increased by 31,000 in September, while public sector employment declined by 29,000. At the same time, the number of private sector employees was little changed.
In the 12 months to September, the number of private sector employees rose by 71,000 (+0.6%) and self-employment increased by 68,000 (+2.5%). Over the same period, public sector employment was little changed.
Quarterly update for the territories
The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information about the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages.
In the third quarter of 2015, employment in Yukon rose by 700 compared with the second quarter. This pushed the unemployment rate down 3.0 percentage points to 5.3%. On a year-over-year basis, employment was little changed.
In the Northwest Territories, employment was little changed between the second and third quarter and on a year-over-year basis. The unemployment rate rose 1.7 percentage points to 8.8% in the third quarter, as more people searched for work.
Employment in Nunavut increased by 600 in the third quarter of 2015 compared with the previous quarter. Over the same period, the unemployment rate was little changed at 17.2% as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with the same period a year earlier, employment was virtually unchanged.
Canada–United States comparison
Adjusted to US concepts, the unemployment rate in Canada was 6.0% in September. In the United States the rate was 5.1%. Compared with September 2014, the unemployment rate in Canada edged up by 0.1 percentage points, while the US rate fell by 0.8 percentage points.
The labour force participation rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 65.8% in September, compared with 62.4% in the US. In the 12 months to September, the participation rate was unchanged in Canada, while it declined 0.3 percentage points in the US.
In September, the employment rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 61.8%, compared with 59.2% in the US. On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points in Canada, while it edged up 0.2 percentage points in the US.
For further information on Canada-US comparisons, see "Measuring Employment and Unemployment in Canada and the United States – A Comparison".
Note to readers
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for September are for the week of September 13 to 19.
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." Estimates for smaller geographic areas or industries also have more variability. For an explanation of sampling variability of estimates and how to use standard errors to assess this variability, consult the "Data quality" section of the publication Labour Force Information (71-001-X).
This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.
The employment rate is the number of employed persons as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. 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 unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).
The participation rate is the number of employed and unemployed as a percentage of the population.
For more detailed information, see the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (71-543-G).
Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted estimates, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see "Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions."
The LFS seasonal adjustment process removes typical seasonal patterns in the monthly data, according to trends established in previous years. While there has always been variability in educational services employment over the summer months, there has not been a consistent pattern in the magnitude or direction of these changes in recent years.
Every 10 years, the LFS undergoes a sample redesign to reflect changes in population and labour market characteristics, as well as new definitions of geographical boundaries. The redesigned sample was introduced starting in January 2015 and was fully implemented in June 2015.
The next release of the LFS will be on November 6.