Unemployment rate jumps to 7.3 per cent

Statistics Canada blames November increase on decrease in full-time work, more people entering the labour force
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/15/2004

The national unemployment rate shot up 0.2 percentage points in November to 7.3 per cent, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Following two months of robust growth, overall employment was little changed last month as an increase in part-time jobs was offset by a slight decline in full-time employment. The unemployment rate rose, however, because more people entered the labour force.

Job growth over the first 11 months of 2004 is up 1.2 per cent, with an average increase of 18,000 per month. This is slightly below the performance of the same period in 2003, when employment grew by 1.5 per cent with an average gain of 22,000 per month. While employment growth in 2003 was in both full time and part time, all of the gains so far in 2004 have been in full-time jobs.

Although the number of hours worked was unchanged in November it is up 1.3% so far this year.

More adult women working

For adult women, employment rose by 26,000 in November after five consecutive months of little change. This increase was all in part-time work. Over the first 11 months of 2004, employment among adult women has risen by 1.1 per cent (up 72,000) and contrasts sharply with the same period of 2003 when employment grew twice as fast (up 2.1 per cent). Despite the employment gain in November, their unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.1 per cent as more adult women entered the labour force in search of work.

Employment fell by 18,000 in November, the only significant decline this year for adult men. This pushed their unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points in November to 6.1 per cent. Full-time employment fell by 31,000, offsetting a similar increase in October. Despite the employment loss, gains so far this year total 100,000 (up 1.4 per cent), all in full-time work.

For the second consecutive month, youth employment was little changed and is up only 0.9 per cent (up 23,000) so far in 2004. In November, the youth unemployment rate was 13.2 per cent.

Factory employment down

Employment fell by 18,000 in manufacturing, bringing job losses in the sector since July to 52,000 (-2.2%). The decline in November was spread across several provinces and was mostly among adult men. However, most of the recent weakness in overall manufacturing has occurred in Ontario. The most recent estimates for Canada show a decline in both exports and manufacturing shipments in September. Canadian manufacturers are facing challenges as the Canadian dollar has strengthened relative to the US dollar and is at its highest value in over a decade. Also a concern to manufacturers is the soaring price of crude oil and its impact on production costs.

Employment declined by 13,000 in accommodation and food services in November. Employment in this sector has been lackluster in 2004 as this month's drop, combined with earlier declines, brings total losses so far this year to 25,000 (down 2.5 per cent).

The number of people working in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing rose by 21,000 in November, offsetting the decline in October. This sector has shown strong job growth over the first 11 months of the year (up 5.9 per cent) and may reflect the strength observed in the construction sector where employment has jumped by six per cent so far in 2004.

Employment also increased in educational services in November (up 15,000). Recent gains in this sector have offset weakness observed over the year, leaving employment just slightly up from December 2003. November's gain was spread among a number of provinces.

The number of people working in retail and wholesale trade edged up slightly in November (up 11,000), building on the robust increase observed in October. The year-to-date employment gain for the sector totals 79,000 (up 3.2 per cent) and coincides with strength in wholesale and retail sales.

More self-employed

In November, employment was little changed in the private sector as an increase of 19,000 self-employed workers was offset by a slight decline in the number of private sector employees. Public sector employment was also little changed. So far in 2004, self-employment has shown the strongest pace of employment growth, up 2.7 per cent (67,000), closely followed by the public sector with growth of 2.2 per cent (67,000). Employment among private sector employees has grown by only 0.6 per cent (61,000) so far in 2004.

Provincial focus

Most provinces experienced little employment change in November. Over the first 11 months of 2004, job growth above the national average occurred in New Brunswick (up 2.3 per cent), Nova Scotia (up two per cent), Manitoba (up 1.6 per cent), Ontario (up 1.4 per cent), and Saskatchewan (up 1.3 per cent). The growth rate for Prince Edward Island (up 2.3 per cent) was also above the national average, due mostly to a strong gain in November.

Employment in Ontario was little changed in November following a strong gain the month before. There was a marked increase in the number of people entering the labour force in search of work, pushing the unemployment rate in the province up 0.5 percentage points to 7.0 per cent in November. Over the first 11 months of this year, employment in the province is up 1.4 per cent (86,000 jobs).

In Quebec, employment continued to show little change, leaving gains over the first 11 months of 2004 at 41,000 (up 1.1 per cent). The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points in November to 8.9 per cent as more people were searching for work.

In British Columbia, a gain in part-time jobs offset a decline in full-time employment in November. The unemployment rate, however, fell 0.5 percentage points to 6.4 per cent as fewer people were participating in the labour force. Recent job growth in the province has more than offset losses observed over the third quarter of the year, leaving employment up 1.0 per cent (up 22,000) so far in 2004.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment gains observed over the first seven months of the year have been mostly offset by recent weakness, leaving employment in the province at about the same level as at the end of 2003, despite an estimated loss of 3,000 in November. The unemployment rate rose to 16.5 per cent in November, up from 15.8 per cent the month before.

Employment rose by an estimated 2,000 in Prince Edward Island with the gain spread in a number of sectors. With most of the employment increase occurring in November, employment in the province is now 2.3 per cent (up 1,600) above the level at the end of 2003. In November, the unemployment rate fell 1.3 percentage points to 10.5 per cent.

There was little change in both employment and the unemployment rate in the other provinces.

Unemployment rate by jurisdiction

JurisdictionOctober 2004November 2004% change
Newfoundland and Labrador15.816.50.7
Prince Edward Island11.810.5-1.3
Nova Scotia8.89.00.2
New Brunswick10.19.9-0.2
British Columbia6.96.4-0.5

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