Ottawa – Employment increased by 74,000 in September 2014, nearly all in full-time work, Statistics Canada reports in its latest Labour Force Survey. This pushed the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 6.8%, the lowest since December 2008.
In the 12 months to September, employment grew by an average of 13,000 per month, for a total increase of 150,000 (+0.8%). Over the same period, the number of hours worked rose slightly (+0.3%).
In September, employment increased among youths aged 15 to 24 and women aged 25 to 54.
Provincially, employment rose in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. There was little change in the other provinces.
There were more people employed in accommodation and food services; health care and social assistance; construction; natural resources; as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. At the same time, employment was down in educational services.
The number of private sector employees increased in September, while self-employment fell.
Adjusted to the concepts used in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.9% in September, the same as the US rate.
More youths working in September
Employment increased by 43,000 among youths aged 15 to 24. Despite this gain, the youth unemployment rate was little changed at 13.5%, the result of more youths participating in the labour force. Compared with 12 months earlier, youth employment was up slightly (+29,000 or +1.2%).
In September, employment increased by 16,000 among women aged 25 to 54, and their unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 5.1%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment for this group was little changed.
Employment among men aged 25 to 54 was virtually unchanged in September. However, their unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 5.9%, as fewer men in this age group searched for work. In the 12 months to September, employment for this group increased by 39,000 (+0.6%).
Among men and women aged 55 and over, employment was little changed in September and their unemployment rate was 5.7%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment for this group grew by 105,000 (+3.1%), the result of population ageing.
In Ontario, employment increased by 25,000 in September and the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 7.1%, the lowest since October 2008. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province rose by 49,000 (+0.7%).
Employment in Alberta increased by 21,000, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.5 percentage points to 4.4%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up by 54,000 (+2.4%).
In Saskatchewan, employment increased by 7,000 in September, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.7 percentage points to 3.5%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up by 19,000 (+3.3%), the fastest growth rate of all provinces.
Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 3,800 in September, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 12.7%. Compared with September 2013, employment in the province was little changed.
Employment in accommodation and food services increased by 48,000 in September, bringing total gains since September 2013 to 64,000 (+5.7%).
In September, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 32,000, bringing employment gains in the industry to 69,000 (+3.2%) since September 2013.
There were 30,000 more construction workers in September. Despite recent gains, employment in the industry was little changed compared with 12 months earlier.
In September, employment in natural resources increased by 28,000, offsetting declines observed in the spring of 2014 and bringing employment back to its level of September 2013.
Employment in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing rose by 21,000 in September. However, employment in the industry was down 31,000 (-2.7%) on a year-over-year basis.
In educational services, employment declined by 44,000 in September. Prior to seasonal adjustment, the actual number of persons working in education increased between August and September but less than the typical increase observed between these two months. This resulted in a decline in employment on a seasonally-adjusted basis for this industry (see “Seasonal adjustment” and “Educational services” in the note to readers). Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in this industry was little changed.
The number of private sector employees increased by 124,000 in September, offsetting a decrease the month before. The most notable gains were in accommodation and food services; construction; natural resources; as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. At the same time, self-employment fell by 56,000, with losses in professional, scientific and technical services as well as accommodation and food services.
The trends for private sector employees and self-employment have been relatively flat since the fall of 2013.
While public sector employment was virtually unchanged in September, on a year-over-year basis it was up 88,000 (+2.5%), mostly the result of added employment since February.
Quarterly update for the territories
The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market information about the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages. The following data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons should only be made on a year-over-year basis.
In the third quarter of 2014, employment in Yukon increased by 1,200 (+6.1%) compared with the same period in 2013 and the unemployment rate fell by 1.6 percentage points to 2.8%.
Employment in the Northwest Territories declined by 1,000 (-4.3%) in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the same period a year earlier. At the same time, the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6%, as fewer people were searching for work.
In Nunavut, employment was little changed over this period and the unemployment rate was 14.1%.
Canada-United States comparison
Adjusted to US concepts, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.9% in September, the same as the US rate. In the 12 months to September, the unemployment rate in Canada edged down 0.2 percentage points, while the rate in the United States fell 1.3 percentage points.
In September, the employment rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 62.1%, compared with 59.0% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points in Canada, while it increased by 0.4 percentage points in the United States. For further information on Canada-US comparisons, see “The labour market in Canada and the United States since the last recession, 2007 to 2014”.