Ottawa, ON — Employment increased by 109,000 in April 2010, the largest monthly gain in percentage terms since August 2002, according to the results of the latest monthly Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points in April to 8.1%, as more people participated in the labour market.
The gain in April was of a similar magnitude to some of the monthly losses observed in the most recent employment downturn, which began in the fall of 2008.
The employment increase in April brings total gains since the start of the upward trend in July 2009 to 285,000.
In April, two-thirds of the employment growth was among men aged 25 and over (+72,000), the strongest monthly increase for this group since comparable data became available in 1976.
Employment growth in April was in both part-time (+65,000) and full-time (+44,000) work. Since July 2009, growth has been concentrated in full-time work.
All of April’s increase was among employees in the private sector.
Employment rose in a number of industries in April with wholesale and retail trade; business, building and other support services; and construction leading the way.
Employment grew in all provinces in April, with the largest increases in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.
Compared with a year earlier, average hourly wages were up 2.0% in April, a rate of growth similar to those observed since January 2010.
Employment growth in April was primarily among men aged 25 and over and youth, while there was little change for women.
Employment grew by 51,000 in April among men aged 25 to 54, the largest percentage increase in 16 years. Despite this gain, employment for this group remained 137,000 (-2.2%) below the employment peak of October 2008.
Employment for youths aged 15 to 24 grew by 23,000 in April. Despite gains in recent months, youth employment remained 168,000 (-6.4%) lower than in October 2008.
Men aged 55 and over also experienced employment increases in April (+21,000). In contrast to youths and men aged 25 to 54, employment for this group has risen by 98,000 (+6.5%) since October 2008.
The largest increases in April were in retail and wholesale trade (+32,000); business, building and other support services (+31,000); construction (+24,000); and information, culture and recreation (+20,000).
The industries with notable losses in April were manufacturing (-21,000) and agriculture (-10,000).
Since July 2009, employment growth has been driven by gains in services, as well as construction and natural resources. Over the same period, employment in manufacturing remained stable.
April’s employment increase was entirely among private sector employees (+109,000), while both the public sector and self-employment were unchanged.
Since July 2009, growth has been strongest among private sector employees (+2.4%), followed by those in the public sector (+1.9%). The number of self-employed workers declined by 1.2% during the same period.
Employment in Ontario increased by 41,000 in April, bringing gains since July 2009 to 109,000 (+1.7%). The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.8%, as more people participated in the labour market.
In April, employment rose by 35,000 in Quebec, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.9%. Since July 2009, employment in that province has grown by 91,000 (+2.4%).
In British Columbia, employment gains of 13,000 in April pushed the unemployment rate down 0.6 percentage points to 7.3%. Since July 2009, employment in the province has risen by 55,000 (+2.4%).
Employment in Alberta rose by 10,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.4%. Despite April’s gain, Alberta is the only province with no employment growth since July 2009.
Employment also grew in Manitoba in April, up 7,000, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.3 percentage points to 4.9%, the lowest in the country.
The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on June 4, 2010.