Public sector employment was 3.6 million in the first quarter of 2011, up 0.3 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Statistics Canada.
The increase was concentrated mainly in health and social services institutions, which saw an increase of 0.5 per cent. Employment has been growing steadily in this sector since the first quarter of 2005. Employment also rose in local general government, up 0.4 per cent.
Employment in federal general government fell 0.2 per cent in the first quarter. The number of employees in this sector has changed little since the first quarter of 2010, following a decade of growth, according to Statistics Canada.
Employment in universities and colleges slipped 0.1 per cent, although it has been on an upward trend since the first quarter of 2001.
Public sector employees represented 10.6 per cent of the total Canadian population in the first quarter, unchanged during the last year. This proportion had been rising slowly since the first quarter of 2001 when it was 9.7 per cent.
The three levels of general government (federal, provincial and territorial and local) accounted for 38.2 per cent of total public sector employment in the first quarter. Educational institutions represented 29.5 per cent, followed by health and social service institutions (23.5 per cent) and government business enterprises (8.7 per cent).
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