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Employment Report – August 2016


Following a decline in July, employment edged up in August (+26,000 or +0.1%). The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 7.0%, as more people participated in the labour market.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 77,000 (+0.4%), with all of the gains in part-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked fell slightly (-0.4%).


Employment up for youths and people 55 and older

 In August, employment increased among youths aged 15 to 24 and people aged 55 and older. At the same time, employment was down among those aged 25 to 54.

Employment rose in Quebec and in Newfoundland and Labrador, while it declined in New Brunswick. There was little change in the other provinces.

There were more people working in public administration and fewer people working in professional, scientific and technical services.

Public sector employment increased in August, while self-employment fell and the number of private sector employees was little changed.

Provincial summary

In Quebec, employment rose by 22,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.1%, as more people participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up 34,000 (+0.8%).

In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment increased by 4,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 12.3%. Despite the increase in August, there was little employment change on a year-over-year basis.

Employment in New Brunswick declined by 3,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was 9.4%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in New Brunswick was essentially unchanged.

Employment in Ontario was little changed on both a monthly and year-over-year basis. However, in August, the unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 6.7%, as more people searched for work.

In British Columbia, employment was virtually unchanged in August. The unemployment rate was also little changed at 5.5% and remained the lowest among the provinces. On a year-over-year basis, employment in British Columbia increased by 73,000 or 3.1%, the highest growth rate among the provinces.

Industry perspective

In August, employment in public administration increased by 16,000. Despite an overall increase, there were employment declines among survey interviewers and statistical clerks, an occupational group that corresponds with activities related to the 2016 Census. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in public administration was virtually unchanged.

Employment declined by 23,000 in professional, scientific and technical services. Employment in this industry was little changed on a year-over-year basis.

Public sector employment increased by 57,000 in August, offsetting declines observed in July. Compared with 12 months earlier, public sector employment was virtually unchanged. The public sector includes all employees in public administration, most employees in utilities, and some employees in education, health care and social assistance, transportation and warehousing, and other industries.

Self-employment fell by 39,000 in August and was little changed on a year-over-year basis.

The number of employees in the private sector was little changed compared with the previous month, while it increased by 97,000 (+0.8%) compared with 12 months earlier.

Summer employment for students

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market data about youths aged 15 to 24 who attended school full time in March, and who intend to return full time in the fall. Published data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made on a year-over-year basis.

For students aged 15 to 24, the average employment rate for the summer (that is, from May to August) was 48.8%, similar to the rate of 49.1% observed in 2015.

The average employment rate for students aged 20 to 24 was 64.9% in the summer of 2016 (compared with 66.0% in 2015); for students 17 to 19 it was 55.1% (compared with 54.5%); and for those aged 15 and 16 it was 24.7% (compared with 25.2%).

The average unemployment rate over the summer for students aged 20 to 24 was 10.2%, virtually unchanged from the rate of 10.1% observed for 2015. At the same time, the unemployment rate was 15.3% for those aged 17 to 19 (compared with 17.3% in 2015), and 28.1% for those aged 15 and 16 (compared with 29.7%).

Canada–United States comparison

Adjusted to the concepts used in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.9% in August compared with 4.9% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged in Canada, while it declined slightly in the United States (-0.2 percentage points).

The labour force participation rate in Canada (adjusted to US concepts) was 65.4% in August, compared with 62.8% in the United States. The participation rate in Canada declined 0.4 percentage points over the past 12 months, while it increased slightly in the United States (+0.2 percentage points).

In August, the US-adjusted employment rate in Canada stood at 61.5% compared with 59.7% in the United States. On a year-over-year basis, the employment rate declined by 0.4 percentage points in Canada while it increased by 0.3 percentage points in the United States.

Source: Statistics Canada

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