Skip to content

Employment Report – February 2017

Employment Rates

Employment among women aged 25 to 54 increased for the third consecutive month, up 18,000 in February. Their unemployment rate remained at 5.3% as more women in this age group participated in the labour market. More core-aged women worked full time in the month (+84,000) and this was partly offset by fewer of them working part time (-65,000). The recent employment gains for core-aged women boosted their year-over-year employment growth to 98,000 (+1.7%).

Following a notable increase in January, employment for 25- to 54-year-old men held steady in February. Compared with February 2016, employment for this group increased by 63,000 (+1.0%), driven by gains since the fall of 2016. In the 12 months to February, the unemployment rate for core-aged men fell by a full percentage point to 5.8%.

Employment among men aged 55 and older increased by 14,000 in February, and their unemployment rate was 6.3%. In the 12 months to February, employment among older men rose by 63,000 (+3.1%) and their population increased by 154,000 (+3.1%).

In February, employment among women aged 55 and older held steady and their unemployment rate was 5.2%. Compared with 12 months earlier, 56,000 (+3.4%) more women aged 55 and older were working, and the number of women in this age group rose by 156,000 (+2.9%).

Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was little changed in February, both in the month and on a year-over-year basis, while their population continued to decline. Their unemployment rate was down by 0.9 percentage points to 12.4% in February, as fewer youths searched for work.

Employment increases for core-aged women

Employment among women aged 25 to 54 increased for the third consecutive month, up 18,000 in February. Their unemployment rate remained at 5.3% as more women in this age group participated in the labour market. More core-aged women worked full time in the month (+84,000) and this was partly offset by fewer of them working part time (-65,000). The recent employment gains for core-aged women boosted their year-over-year employment growth to 98,000 (+1.7%).

Following a notable increase in January, employment for 25- to 54-year-old men held steady in February. Compared with February 2016, employment for this group increased by 63,000 (+1.0%), driven by gains since the fall of 2016. In the 12 months to February, the unemployment rate for core-aged men fell by a full percentage point to 5.8%.

Employment among men aged 55 and older increased by 14,000 in February, and their unemployment rate was 6.3%. In the 12 months to February, employment among older men rose by 63,000 (+3.1%) and their population increased by 154,000 (+3.1%).

In February, employment among women aged 55 and older held steady and their unemployment rate was 5.2%. Compared with 12 months earlier, 56,000 (+3.4%) more women aged 55 and older were working, and the number of women in this age group rose by 156,000 (+2.9%).

Employment among youths aged 15 to 24 was little changed in February, both in the month and on a year-over-year basis, while their population continued to decline. Their unemployment rate was down by 0.9 percentage points to 12.4% in February, as fewer youths searched for work.

Provincial summary

In February, employment increased by 19,000 in British Columbia, continuing an upward trend that began in the spring of 2015. The increase was fueled by gains in full-time work and was spread across several industries. In the 12 months to February, employment increased by 85,000 or 3.6%, the fastest growth rate among the provinces. Over the same period, the unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points to 5.1%, the lowest since October 2008. In February, British Columbia posted the lowest unemployment rate among the provinces.

Employment in Saskatchewan rose by 8,000 in February, the largest increase since April 2012. Nearly all of the gains were in full-time work and stemmed from the services sector. Prior to the increase in February, total employment had been relatively flat since the spring of 2016. In February, the provincial unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 6.0%.

In Manitoba, employment increased by 3,400 in February, driven by gains in full-time work and in construction. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 5.8%, the second lowest among the provinces following British Columbia. The employment increase in February boosted year-over-year gains for the province to 6,600 (+1.0%).

In February, the number of people working full time increased by 53,000 in Ontario, offsetting a similar-sized decrease in the number of people working part time, resulting in little change in overall employment for the month. Building on gains since July, employment in Ontario was up by 108,000 (+1.5%) on a year-over-year basis, with virtually all of the increase in full-time work. In February, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% as the number of people searching for work edged down.

There was little employment change in Quebec for the second consecutive month. In the 12 months to February, employment was up by 83,000 (+2.0%), powered by gains in the second half of 2016. The unemployment rate in February was 6.4%, down 1.1 percentage points from 12 months earlier.

In Alberta, employment held steady in February, with full-time gains (+19,000) offsetting losses in part-time employment (-18,000). Following significant declines from the autumn of 2015 to the summer of 2016, total employment in the province has been stable in recent months. In February, the unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 8.3%, as fewer people searched for work.

Following an increase in January, there were 6,800 fewer people working in Nova Scotia in February and the unemployment rate was 8.1%. The employment decline was largely the result of a drop in part-time employment. Although total employment in the province decreased in February, it was little changed compared with 12 months earlier.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador fell by 3,800 in February and the unemployment rate was 14.2%. The employment decline in February offset an increase in January and continued a downward trend that began in May 2016. In the 12 months to February, employment in the province fell by 6,400 (-2.8%).

Unemployment Rates

Industry perspective

Following little change in the previous three months, employment in wholesale and retail trade increased by 19,000 in February and edged up by 35,000 (+1.3%) on a year-over-year basis. The additional employment in February followed higher sales reported in the latter part of 2016 at both the wholesale and retail level.

Employment in transportation and warehousing increased for the second consecutive month, up 8,800 in February. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in this industry increased by 34,000 (+3.8%).

Employment in public administration also increased for the second consecutive month, up 12,000 in February, bringing total gains to 65,000 (+7.2%) on a year-over-year basis. In the 12 months to February, there were more people employed at the federal level and also at the local, municipal and regional level.

The number of private and public sector employees was little changed in February. On a year-over-year basis, increases in the number of private sector employees totalled 253,000 (+2.2%), spread across several service industries, while public sector employment rose by 78,000 (+2.2%), driven by gains in public administration.

The number of self-employed workers was little changed in February and edged down from 12 months earlier.


Women’s employment rates and gender wage differences

In celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

In 1950, 21.1% of women aged 25 to 54 were employed. This had more than tripled to 77.8% by 2016. In contrast, the employment rate for men fell from 94.0% in 1950 to 85.0% in 2016. The increase in women’s employment coincided with socio-demographic and economic changes, such as increased participation in higher levels of education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and increased separation and divorce.

Despite the convergence in their employment rates, women continue to earn less than men. In 2016, women aged 25 to 54 working full time earned an average of $26.69 per hour, while their male counterparts earned an average of $30.35. This means that on an hourly basis, women earned $0.88 for every dollar earned by men in 2016, up from about $0.75 in the mid-1980s.


Source: Statistics Canada

%d bloggers like this: