Most job sectors in Canada see improved employment outlook

by Ray Clancy on January 11, 2011

Improved job outlook in Canada

Job prospects in Canada are continuing to improve as employment edged up for the second consecutive month in December, with an increase of 22,000.

The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%. Compared with December 2009, employment increased by 2.2% (up 369,000), following a decline of 1.1% the previous year.

There were notable employment increases in December in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing as well as in natural resources. At the same time, there were declines in construction, health care and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, business building and other support services and agriculture.

Official figures show that full time employment was up 38,000 in December, the fourth increase in the past five months. Part time employment has grown faster, up 3.4%, than full time, up 1.9%, over the past 12 months. Full time employment accounted for 81% of total employment in December.

Increases in the number of private sector employees in December were partly offset by declines in self-employment. Among the provinces, Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador saw employment gains in December, while British Columbia posted declines. Employment was little changed in the other provinces.

Overall there were 45,000 new jobs in transportation and warehousing and 7,700 in natural resources.  But employment in construction fell by 27,000 in December, the first notable decline since July 2009. Despite this decline, construction employment was up 4.8% over the past 12 months.

In December, there were 24,000 fewer jobs in health care and social assistance and employment in wholesale and retail trades fell by 22,000. Business, building and other support services also saw employment losses in December, down 18,000. While agricultural employment fell by 8,000.

The employment figures also show that more people are working in the private sector, with the number of jobs increasing by 53,000. But self-employment fell by 38,000. It means that public sector employment was little changed over the last year.

Employment in Quebec increased by 25,000, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.3% to 7.6%. With December’s gain, Quebec employment was up 102,000 (2.6%) from a year earlier.

In Ontario, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 23,000 in December. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1% to 8.1%. With December’s increase, the number of workers in Ontario grew by 2.8%, up 186,000, from a year earlier, above the national growth rate of 2.2%. Over the 12 months of 2009, Ontario’s employment was down 1.8%, the largest decline among all provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw employment increases of 2,500 in December, bringing total employment growth in the province to 4.6%, up 9,900, compared with the same month a year earlier, the fastest rate of growth in the country.

Employment in British Columbia fell by 23,000 in December, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.7% to 7.6%. But compared with December 2009, employment in the province grew by 1.5%, up 35,000.

More young people are getting jobs following a large decline in the number of 15 to 24 year olds in employment. The figures show that youth employment increased by 26,000 in December. Employment was little changed for the other demographic groups.

Compared with December 2009, youth employment increased 1.8%, some 42,000 more jobs, but below the overall employment growth of 2.2%. Over the same period, people aged 55 and over saw their employment levels increase by 6.6% of which half was due to aging of the population, as the number of people in this age group grew by 3.3% over the period. While this age group makes up less than a third of the working age population, it accounted for 50% of the total employment growth over the past 12 months.

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