Skip to content

Current Unemployment Rate in Canada

Canada’s job market continues to impress. In 2017, Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 40 years.  With the 13th consecutive month of positive job gains, 2018 is looking promising.


The Canadian employment rate is off to a strong outset for 2018 given the substantial performance in the last 12 months. The unemployment rate dropped at the end of 2017 to its lowest levels in 40 years, with the Canadian economy generating 423,000 new positions in 2017 — including 394,000 full-time jobs. The year concluded with a drop in the unemployment rate by 1.2 percentage points to 5.7% — the lowest rate since comparable recorded data became available in 1976. Overall employment rose by 2.3%, making it the fastest employment growth in 15 years.

Demographic Changes

The Canadian employment rate saw gains in 2017 across all demographics by varying amounts. The 15 to 24 year old demographic employment rate rose by 1.4% (up 34,000 positions), while the groups’ population declined by 0.5%, resulting in an overall employment rate increase to 57.2%. The 25 to 54 year old demographic experienced an employment rate increase by 1.6%, up 186,000 positions.

The employment rate for men and women over the age of 55 increased by a substantial 5.3% in 2017 — totaling 203,000 positions — finally exceeding the rate of population growth for this demographic. These workers largely fall into the 55 to 64 year-old age range.

Provincial Growth

The Canadian employment rate continued to climb through the end of 2017. Quebec and Alberta led employment growth in December 2017, with smaller gains observed in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and PEI. In Quebec, employment continued to grow in December 2017 for a third consecutive month, up to 27,000, ending the year with a record-low unemployment rate of 4.9%. Alberta, despite its recent oil-led recession, closely followed Quebec’s downward unemployment trend with employment increasing by 26,000 — a majority being full-time positions, resulting in the highest employment performance since 2014. Continuing with positive trends, Ontario remained steady after a substantial increase in November of 44,000 [i] and December saw employment rise in the following provinces:

  • Nova Scotia by 5,900
  • Saskatchewan by 5,000
  • New Brunswick by 4,200

Prince Edward Island by 900

Employment by Industry

Transportation and warehousing led employment growth in the service-producing sector — up 6.3% or 57,000 positions. The service sector saw additional gains in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, (up 4.6% or 53,000), and professional, scientific and technical services (up 3.8% or 53,000). These industry gains closed 2017 with an increase in employment in the service-producing sector by 2.0%.

The goods-producing sector experienced employment gains in manufacturing (up 5.1% or 86,000), natural resources (up 4.6% or 15,000) and construction (3.6% or 51,000).  After recording losses in 2015 and 2016, natural resources bounced back recording an increase of 15,000 positions in 2017. The goods-producing sector finished the year with an overall increase in employment of 3.5%.

With the continuous promise to increase minimum wage in provinces across Canada, and the changing landscape of where and how we work, we can expect to see implications affect the 2018 unemployment rate. However, the last 12 months of positive job creation signals a mending Canadian economy that continues to gain steam.

For more articles, visit our Employer resources page on our website.


Remaining Statistics from StatCan:



%d bloggers like this: