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Little change on employment front in January

Ottawa, ON -- Employment in Canada was little changed for the third consecutive month and the unemployment rate hel...


Ottawa, ON — Employment in Canada was little changed for the third consecutive month and the unemployment rate held steady in January 2005 at 7.0%, Statistics Canada reports in its latest Labour Force Survey. The number of hours worked fell 0.7%, however, it was up 1.4% from a year ago, the same growth rate as employment.

Youth employment fell by 21,000 in January, all part time. Despite this decline, their unemployment rate edged up only slightly to 12.8% due to a decrease in labour force participation. Over the past 12 months, employment gains among youths totalled 1.2%, mostly full time.

Employment was little changed among adults in January. Compared with a year ago, employment grew by 1.7% for adult men (all in full time) while for adult women job growth totalled 1.2% with gains in full and part time.

There were 18,000 more people working in retail and wholesale trade in January, bringing gains since August to 46,000 (+1.8%).

Manufacturing employment edged up in January (+14,000) following declines totalling 29,000 over the last seven months of 2004.

Construction employment rose slightly in January, building on the strong gains observed in 2004. Over the past 13 months, 84,000 jobs have been added in this industry, reflecting low interest rates and strength in building permits and housing starts.

The number of people working in health care and social assistance fell by 14,000 in January. Despite this decline, employment in the health care and social assistance sector has been relatively stable since the start of 2004 following robust gains in 2002 and 2003.

Employment in public administration also fell by 14,000 in January and follows a year of little change, leaving the number of jobs in this sector at about the same level as at the beginning of 2004.

In January, employment declined in information, culture and recreation (-12,000), bringing losses since August to 36,000. This offsets most of the gains observed earlier in 2004.

Employment edged up slightly in accommodation and food services for the second consecutive month leaving it little changed since the start of 2004. However, since the fall, employment has been weak in parts of this sector, notably taverns and bars, possibly due to the ongoing National Hockey League labour dispute.

In January, employment in the private sector rose by 42,000 with gains in both private sector employees and self-employment. In contrast, the number of jobs in the public sector fell by 48,000. Over the past 13 months, the number of private sector employees has increased by 1.5%, while self-employment has grown by a comparable rate of 1.3%. The employment loss in January among public workers cuts their job growth to 0.9% over the same 13 month period.

PROVINCIAL EMPLOYMENT

Employment increased by 16,000 in Quebec, continuing the pattern of modest job growth observed through most of 2004. The increase in January brings gains over the last 12 months to 71,000 (+2.0%). The largest increases in January were in retail and wholesale trade, accommodation and food services and transportation and warehousing. The unemployment rate edged down to 8.4% in January.

In Ontario, employment fell by 28,000 as a decline of 51,000 full-time jobs was only partly offset by a gain in part-time work. This overall decrease was spread among adults and youths with job losses across several industries. Despite the decline in employment, the unemployment rate edged down slightly to 6.7%, the result of fewer people in the labour force. With the job losses in January, employment growth for the province over the last year is only 0.8%.

In January, the only significant employment change in Atlantic Canada occurred in New Brunswick where the number of people with jobs declined by 3,000, pushing the unemployment rate up to 9.7%. The employment decline in January follows growth of 1.8% in 2004. Losses in January occurred in manufacturing and construction.

In British Columbia, an increase of 17,000 full-time jobs was offset by a similar decline in part time. This leaves overall gains from a year ago at 1.8% (+37,000). The strong employment growth observed in the construction sector in 2004 continued in January as 9,000 jobs were added.

There was little change in employment in the other provinces in January.