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Employment rate edged down in July as manufacturing losses continue

Ottawa, ON -- Following gains at the beginning of 2008, and little change from April to June, employment dropped by...


Ottawa, ON — Following gains at the beginning of 2008, and little change from April to June, employment dropped by 55,000 in July 2008, according to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 6.1%, as many people, particularly youth, left the labour force.

While employment grew by 1.3% over the last 12 months (+227,000), the pace of growth has slowed in recent months. Employment gains have averaged 10,000 per month thus far in 2008 compared with an average monthly gain of 30,000 for 2007.

Most of the employment losses in July were in part time, down 48,000. Over the last 12 months, however, part-time employment has grown by 3.5%, much faster than the 0.9% growth in full time.

Employment decreases in July occurred in manufacturing; business, building and other support services; and educational services. The only significant gains were in accommodation and food services.

Losses for the month were notable for private sector employees, while the public sector saw some gains. Since July 2007, employment in the public sector has grown by 6.1%, compared with 0.5% for the private sector.

July’s employment losses occurred in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

In recent months, employment for youth aged 15 to 24 has edged down, resulting in a year-over-year employment decline of 0.3%. The fastest growth rate over the year was for older workers, aged 55 and over, whose employment grew by 7.0%, while employment for core-aged workers, 25 to 54, was up 0.5% over the same period.

Since July of 2007, average hourly wages have risen by 4.0%, still ahead of the most recent increase of 3.1% in the Consumer Price Index. Year-over-year wage increases have been at 4.0% or above since August 2007.

MANUFACTURING LOSSES CONTINUE

Overall, manufacturing employment declined by 32,000 in July, as the number of factory workers dropped by 41,000 in Ontario and increased by 7,000 in Alberta. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing employment across Canada was down 88,000, with nearly all the losses in Ontario.

Employment in business, building and other support services continued on its recent downward trend, with a decline of 30,000 in July. Since July 2007, employment in this industry has decreased by 5.4%, mainly in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Educational services was down 27,000 workers in July. Despite this decline, employment in education has grown by 3.2% over the past 12 months.

Accommodation and food services was the only industry showing notable gains in July, up 22,000. Over the last 12 months, employment in this industry has risen by 2.1%.

EMPLOYMENT DECLINES IN CENTRAL CANADA IN JULY

Employment in Quebec declined by 30,000 in July, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to 7.4%. Quebec’s employment level is little changed from a year ago as employment increases in construction; professional, scientific and technical services; and manufacturing, were offset by weakness in trade; and information, culture and recreation.

In July, employment in Ontario edged down by 19,000, all in full time. The unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 6.4%, as 42,000 people, mostly youth aged 15 to 24, left the labour market.

Since July 2007, Ontario’s employment is up 1.2%, slightly below the national average. Large losses in manufacturing have been more than offset by gains in public administration; health care and social assistance; construction; and educational services.