MRO Magazine

Manufacturing finally sees employment uptick in September

Ottawa, ON -- Employment in Canada increased for the second consecutive month, up 31,000 in September 2009, dr...

Human Resources

October 15, 2009
By MRO Magazine


Ottawa, ON — Employment in Canada increased for the second consecutive month, up 31,000 in September 2009, driven by large full-time job gains, reports Statistics Canada in its latest Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 8.4%, the first monthly decline since the beginning of the labour market downturn in the fall of 2008.


September’s full-time increase of 92,000, the largest since May 2006, was partially offset by part-time losses of 61,000. The increase in full-time work was mainly among youths and women aged 25 and over and in Ontario.



Despite September’s gains, full-time employment has fallen by 395,000 or 2.8% since the employment peak in October 2008.


Construction, manufacturing and educational services saw employment increases in September, while there were declines in transportation and warehousing.


British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were the only provinces with notable employment gains in September. In Ontario, employment rose slightly as large full-time gains were dampened by losses in part time.


Since the peak in October 2008, employment has fallen by 2.1% (-357,000), with the bulk of the decline occurring between October 2008 and March 2009. Since then, the trend in employment has levelled, with the number employed almost the same in September as it was in March.


Canadians have been working more hours since April 2009. While the number of actual hours worked decreased 4.2% from October 2008 to April 2009, since then, there has been an increase in hours worked of 2.0%. In contrast, employment edged down 0.2% from April to September.


The increase in average hourly wages slowed to 2.5% compared with September 2008. This was the lowest year-over-year growth in two and a half years.


Manufacturing and construction up in September


Manufacturing employment increased by 26,000 in September, the first notable increase since February 2009. Employment in this industry had the sharpest rate of decline since the start of the labour market downturn in the fall of 2008, down 10.6% (-210,000).


Following an increase the previous month, employment in construction rose again in September (+25,000). Both housing starts and building permits have increased from April to August 2009. Despite these recent increases, employment in this industry has fallen by 6.7% (-84,000) since October 2008.


There was an employment gain of 18,000 in educational services in September. Since October 2008, employment in this industry has declined by 1.6% (-20,000).


Employment in transportation and warehousing decreased by 21,000 in September, continuing the downward trend since the fall of 2008. Employment has fallen by 8.4% or 73,000 since October, mostly in truck transportation in Ontario and Quebec.


In September, public sector employment increased by 36,000, leaving employment in this sector down 0.8% since October 2008. Employment among private sector employees edged down in September, while there was a small increase among the self employed. Most of the employment declines since October have been among private sector employees (-3.6%), while the number of self employed has increased by 2.9%.


Largest gain in British Columbia


By province, the most notable employment gain in September was in British Columbia, up 14,000. Although down 1.7% since October 2008, employment in this province has been increasing since March 2009 (+1.3% or +30,000). The unemployment rate, at 7.4%, declined by 0.4 percentage points in September.


In Ontario, a large full-time increase (+62,000) was dampened by a loss in part time (-49,000), leaving employment up only slightly in September. The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 9.2%.


September marks the third consecutive month of small employment increases in Ontario, totalling 39,000. Despite this increase, Ontario has suffered the fastest rate of employment losses since October (-2.9%), mostly in full time and in manufacturing, construction and a number of service industries.


Employment also increased in New Brunswick in September, up 2,900, bringing the unemployment rate down 1.2 percentage points, to 8.1%.


Quebec’s employment level was little changed in September for the second consecutive month. The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points to 8.8%, as fewer people participated in the labour market. Since October, employment in this province has fallen by 1.6%, less than the national average of 2.1%.


More women working in September


September’s overall employment gains were among women aged 25 and over (+41,000), while employment fell for men aged 25 to 54 (-17,000). Among youths, increases in full-time work (+58,000) were offset by part-time losses (-54,000).


Since October, the majority of employment losses were among men aged 25 to 54 (-211,000) and youths (-205,000). In recent months, employment declines have stabilized for core-age men, leaving employment down 0.2% since March. For youths, employment continued to decline throughout the summer months, with employment losses of 3.4% since March 2009.


Quarterly update on territories


The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information about the territories. These data are not included in the national estimates, but are published separately and in the form of three-month moving averages. Information in this release is based on data that are not seasonally adjusted and therefore comparisons should only be made on a year-over-year basis.


Compared with the third quarter of 2008, employment was down in the Northwest Territories in the third quarter of 2009 (-2,200), pushing the unemployment rate up 2.6 percentage points to 7.6%. Over the same period, the employment rate (the proportion of the working-age population who are employed) fell by 7.0 percentage points to 65.1%, the lowest since the start of the series in 2001.


Employment in the Yukon edged down in the third quarter of 2009, bringing the employment rate to 70.2%, a decline of 3.3 percentage points from the same quarter of the previous year. The unemployment rate was 5.6%, the lowest of the three territories.


In Nunavut, over the same period, employment declines brought the employment rate down 1.3 percentage points to 53.1%. In the third quarter of 2009, the unemployment rate stood at 14.4%.


The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on November 6, 2009.