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Employment Report – May 2015

Employment increased by 59,000 in May, driven by gains in the number of private sector employees. The number of people participating in the labour market also rose in May, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.8% for the fourth consecutive month.

Since the beginning of 2015, employment gains have averaged 20,500 per month.

In the 12 months to May, employment increased by 192,000 (+1.1%), the result of more full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked grew by 1.2%.

Employment gains in May were highest among men aged 25 to 54, followed by men aged 55 and older. However, there was little change among the other demographic groups.

Provincially, employment increased in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, while it declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

In May, there were more people working in manufacturing as well as in health care and social assistance. Additionally, employment rose in retail and wholesale trade; business, building and other support services; as well as in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. In contrast, there were fewer workers in public administration and agriculture.

The number of private sector employees increased in May, while there was little change in self-employment. At the same time, public sector employment edged down.

Unemployment Rates

Employment gains in Ontario and British Columbia

In Ontario, employment rose by 44,000 in May, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.3 percentage points to 6.5%. This employment increase accounted for most of the 53,000 (+0.8%) year-over-year gains for the province.

In May, employment increased by 31,000 in British Columbia, mostly in part-time work. This follows a similar-sized decrease in April, which was mainly in full-time employment. The unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 6.1% in May, as more people participated in the labour market. In the 12 months to May, employment in the province was little changed.

In Nova Scotia, employment rose by 3,700 in May and the unemployment rate was 8.8%. Prior to this increase, employment in the province had been trending downward since January.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador fell by 4,300 in May, and the unemployment rate increased 1.2 percentage points to 13.8%. Employment in the province has been on a downward trend since November.

In Manitoba, 3,200 fewer people worked in May and the unemployment rate was 5.7%. Despite this employment decline, Manitoba had the highest rate of growth among all provinces in the 12 months to May, up 2.3% or 14,000.

There were 2,800 fewer people employed in New Brunswick in May and the unemployment rate was 9.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was unchanged.

In May, employment was little changed in Alberta. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 5.8%, the highest rate since January 2011. On a year-over-year basis, employment gains totalled 38,000 (+1.7%). However, there has been little employment growth in the province since the start of 2015.

Employment in Quebec was virtually unchanged in May and the unemployment rate was 7.6%. However, compared with May 2014, employment in the province increased by 70,000 (+1.7%), with most of the growth in the first four months of 2015.

Summer employment for students

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market data about youths aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full-time in March and who intend to return to school full-time in the fall. The May survey results provide the first indicators of the summer job market, especially for students aged 20 to 24, as many students aged 15 to 19 are still in school. The data for June, July and August will provide further insight into the summer job market. The published data are not seasonally adjusted and, therefore, comparisons can only be made from one year to another.

The employment rate among returning students aged 20 to 24, that is, the number of employed as a percentage of their population, was 59.0% in May, little changed from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for this group of students was 15.1% in May, up 1.5 percentage points from May 2014.

Source: Statistics Canada

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