Employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 80,000 in November. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.9%, the lowest rate since February 2008.
In the 12 months to November, employment was up by 390,000 (+2.1%), with all the gains attributable to full-time work (+441,000 or +3.0%) as part-time employment was down slightly. Over the same period, total hours worked grew by 1.0%.
The unemployment rate trended downwards in the 12 months to November, falling 0.9 percentage points over this period.
In November, employment increased for women 55 and older, for youth aged 15 to 24, and for core-aged men (25 to 54). There was little change for the other demographic groups.
Employment rose in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. At the same time, fewer people were employed in New Brunswick, while there was little change in the other provinces.
A number of goods- and services-producing industries recorded employment gains: wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, educational services, and construction. On the other hand, a decrease was observed in agriculture.
The employment increase in November was largely among private sector employees, as both public sector employment and the number of self-employed were little changed.
Employment gains for older women, youth and core-aged men
In November, employment for women aged 55 and older rose by 32,000, and their unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 4.6%. On a year-over-year basis, employment for older women was up 94,000 (+5.4%). For men aged 55 and older, employment held steady and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2%. In the 12 months to November, employment for older men was up 81,000 (+3.9%).
Among workers aged 55 and older, 8 out of 10 were between the ages of 55 and 64. Their estimated year-over-year rate of employment growth (unadjusted for seasonality) was 4.1%, twice the rate of their population growth (+2.0%). In comparison, people aged 65 and older comprised a smaller share of older workers, but their proportion has been increasing over the past decade. This group had the fastest year-over-year rate of employment growth among the major demographic groups in November, rising 8.1% and outpacing their rate of population growth (+3.7%). For more information about recent trends among older workers, see Labour in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census and “The impact of aging on labour market participation rates.”
Employment for youth aged 15 to 24 increased for the second consecutive month, up 30,000 in November, bringing year-over-year gains up to 50,000 (+2.0%). In November, the youth employment rate (share of the 15- to 24-year-old population that was working) rose by 0.7 percentage points to 57.3%—continuing an upward trend that began in mid-2016. The youth unemployment rate was little changed in November at 10.8%, well below the rate of 12.9% recorded 12 months earlier.
Employment also increased for core-aged men, up 27,000 in November. With more of them working and fewer searching for work, their unemployment rate fell by 0.6 percentage points to 5.0%—the lowest rate since May 2008. In the 12 months to November, employment for men aged 25 to 54 was up 81,000 (+1.3%).
Ontario leading employment growth
The lion’s share of national employment growth in November was recorded in Ontario, with 44,000 more people employed, mostly in wholesale and retail trade as well as in manufacturing. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.5%, the lowest rate since July 2000. Ontario has seen a downward trend in the unemployment rate since the start of 2016. Year-over-year employment gains in the province totalled 181,000 (+2.6%), all in full-time work.
In British Columbia, 18,000 more people were employed in November, bringing year-over-year gains to 92,000 (+3.8%), mostly in full-time work. The unemployment rate was 4.8% in November, little changed from the previous month, though still the lowest among the provinces.
Employment in Quebec grew for the second consecutive month, up 16,000 in November. Most of the increase was in manufacturing and construction. With more people employed and fewer searching for work, the unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to 5.4%, continuing a notable downward trend that began at the start of 2016. The November unemployment rate in Quebec was also the lowest recorded since January 1976—when comparable data became available. In the 12 months to November, employment gains in the province totalled 78,000 (+1.9%), all in full-time work.
In Prince Edward Island, 1,400 more people were employed in November, reducing the unemployment rate to a record low of 8.8% (-1.5 percentage points). In the 12 months to November, employment gains in the province totalled 2,500 (+3.5%).
Following gains in October, employment in New Brunswick fell by 2,700 in November, all in part-time work. The unemployment rate increased 0.5 percentage points to 8.3%. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was little changed.
Employment in Alberta held steady in November, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.3% as fewer people looked for work. Year-over-year employment growth in the province totalled 34,000 (+1.5%), all in full-time work.
Employment gains in both goods- and service-producing sectors
In November, 39,000 more people were employed in wholesale and retail trade, offsetting the decrease in October. In the 12 months to November, employment in this industry was up by 82,000 (+3.0%).
Employment in manufacturing increased by 30,000, bringing year-over-year gains to 91,000 (+5.4%). Employment in this industry has been trending up since the start of 2017. Growth in the 12 months to November was spread across several subsectors such as electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing as well as printing and related support activities.
In educational services, employment rose by 21,000 in November but was little changed from 12 months earlier.
Employment in construction increased for the second consecutive month, up 16,000 in November. This brings year-over-year gains to 50,000 (+3.6%). Employment in this industry has been trending up since the summer of 2017.
On the other hand, the number of people employed in agriculture decreased by 5,800, offsetting an increase the previous month. After trending downwards since the autumn of 2013, employment in agriculture has been virtually unchanged since the spring of 2017.
The number of private sector employees increased by 72,000 in November, while both public sector employment and the number of self-employed were little changed. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private sector employees rose by 218,000 (+1.8%), while public sector employment rose by 88,000 (+2.4%) and self-employment was up by 85,000 (+3.1%).