MRO Magazine

Steady employment rate tempered by 8% unemployment

Ottawa, ON -- In October 2010, employment remained virtually unchanged for the second consecutive month, as fu...

Human Resources

November 5, 2010
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — In October 2010, employment remained virtually unchanged for the second consecutive month, as full-time gains offset part-time losses, according to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate edged down to 7.9% and has been around 8% for the past seven months.

Since October 2009, total employment has risen by 375,000 (+2.2%), mostly the result of strength over the first half of 2010, when employment growth averaged 51,000 per month. In the past four months, however, monthly gains have averaged 5,700.

The number of private sector employees increased in October, while self-employment declined. Public sector employment was unchanged.

Full-time employment rose by 47,000 in October, while part-time fell by 44,000. Over the past three months, losses in part time have been offset by full-time gains.


Employment increased among people aged 55 and over, nearly all among women. At the same time, there was an offsetting decline in employment for those aged 25 to 54.

Alberta posted employment gains in October, while Nova Scotia registered a notable loss. There was little change in other provinces.

Losses in retail and wholesale trade were offset by gains in information, culture and recreation; construction; and agriculture. The construction industry continued its upward trend that started in July 2009.

Average hourly wages for employees increased by 2.1% in October compared with 12 months earlier.


The number of private sector employees increased by 38,000 in October, while self-employment declined by 24,000. At the same time, public sector employment was virtually unchanged.

Over the past year, 337,000 employees have been added to the private sector and 134,000 to the public sector. The number of self-employed has fallen by 96,000 over the same period.


The number of people working full-time continued to rise in October, up 47,000, bringing gains to 164,000 over the past three months. At the same time, the total number of hours worked has edged up.

Part-time employment fell by 44,000 in October, with losses totalling 132,000 over the past three months.


In October, employment in the goods-producing sector rose by 36,000, led by a gain of 21,000 in construction. Since October 2009, employment in construction has risen by 6.0% (+72,000), one of the fastest growth rates of all major industries.

Within the goods sector, employment also increased in agriculture in October, up 9,000, while it edged up in manufacturing.

The number of workers in the service sector declined by 33,000 in October, with losses concentrated in retail and wholesale trade (-29,000). The only service industry with a notable increase was information, culture and recreation, up 22,000.


In October, employment among women aged 55 and over increased by 16,000, while there was little change for men in this age group. At the same time, the number of 25 to 54 year-old workers dipped by 16,000. Youth employment was little changed in October, following a notable decline the previous month.

Between October 2009 and October 2010, the fastest rate of employment growth was among workers aged 55 and over, up 7.7% for men and 7.4% for women.

Over this year-long period, there were also employment gains for men aged 25 to 54, up 117,000 or 1.9%. Among women in this age group, employment grew much slower (+27,000 or +0.5%).


Employment in Alberta rose by 17,000 in October, following two months of little change. This increase brings total gains over the past 12 months to 46,000 or 2.3%, slightly above the national growth rate of 2.2%.

Employment also increased in Prince Edward Island in October, up 1,200. Despite this increase, employment in the province remained similar to the level of 12 months earlier.

In Quebec, employment was little changed in October. The unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 8.0%, as more people were looking for work.

While employment in Ontario was also little changed in October, the unemployment rate edged down 0.2 percentage points to 8.6%, the result of fewer men aged 25 and over participating in the labour market.

In Nova Scotia, employment fell by 8,600 in October, following an increase the month before. This decline pushed the unemployment rate in the province up 0.8 percentage points to 9.8%.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador declined by 2,300 in October. A decrease in the number of people in the labour force pushed the unemployment rate down to 13.0%, its lowest level since June 2008.

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on December 3, 2010.