MRO Magazine

Employment in goods-producing sector up by 40,000 in March

Ottawa, ON -- Employment in Canada edged up by 18,000 in March 2010, continuing an upward trend that began in ...

Human Resources

April 9, 2010
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — Employment in Canada edged up by 18,000 in March 2010, continuing an upward trend that began in July 2009, Statistics Canada reports in its latest Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2%.

March’s employment increase brings total gains to 176,000 (+1.1%) since July 2009.

Part-time employment was up by 32,000 in March, more than offsetting full-time losses. Despite the gain in March, part-time employment has fallen by 0.6% since July 2009, while full-time work has grown by 1.4%.

The number of private sector employees increased by 42,000 in March. However, since July, employment has grown at a faster rate among employees in the public sector than those in the private sector (+2.0% versus +1.4%). Over the same period, the number of self-employed has declined by 1.3%.


Industries with notable increases in March were professional, scientific and technical services; construction; and natural resources. These gains were partially offset by declines in “other services;” business, building and other support services; and transportation and warehousing.

Employment edged up in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan in March, while there was little change in all other provinces.

Average hourly wages were up by 2.2% in March compared with a year earlier. This increase is similar to those seen in recent months.

Employment in the goods-producing sector was up by 40,000 in March, with most of the gains found in construction and natural resources.

Following a four-month pause in growth, construction added 21,000 workers in March.

Employment in natural resources increased by 13,000 in March and has been trending up since October 2009, with gains totalling 36,000 (+12.0%) since that time. Most of the increases were in mining, oil and gas extraction.

Following significant losses in manufacturing employment between October 2008 and June 2009 (-212,000 or -10.8%), employment in this industry has stabilized, with March being the sixth consecutive month of little or no change.

In the service sector in March, the only notable employment increase was in professional, scientific and technical services (+38,000). At the same time, there were declines of 30,000 in “other services,” which includes repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services. There were also losses in business, building and other support services (-26,000) as well as transportation and warehousing (-20,000).

Employment in transportation and warehousing, an industry that has close ties to manufacturing, has been trending down since the employment peak of October 2008, with total losses of 83,000.

Despite recent strength in the goods-producing sector, employment in that sector remains 286,000 below its peak of October 2008. Conversely, employment in the service sector is 45,000 above its October 2008 level.


Employment in Ontario edged up by 10,000 in March, continuing the growth seen since May 2009 (+102,000). The unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 8.8% in March.

Employment was also up slightly in Quebec (+6,000) in March, bringing total gains in that province to 56,000 since July 2009. The unemployment rate was little changed in March at 8.0%.

Following an increase in February, Saskatchewan’s employment level continued to rise in March, up 3,300. With more people participating in the labour force, the unemployment rate increased by 0.8 percentage points to 5.1%. Despite this increase, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate remained the lowest of all provinces, closely followed by Manitoba at 5.2%.

Despite little change in Alberta’s employment in March, the unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 7.5%, as more people entered the labour force. This unemployment rate is the highest since 1996. Alberta is the only province with an employment decline since July 2009.

There was little change in employment among demographic groups in March. Since July 2009, the largest gains in employment have been among women aged 25 to 54 (+84,000) and men aged 55 and over (+52,000).

During this eight-month period, employment was up only slightly among youth; men aged 25 to 54; and women aged 55 and over.

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on May 7, 2010.