Canada’s employment edged up for the second consecutive month in December, with an increase of 22,000 jobs. However, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.
Compared with December 2009, employment increased by 2.2 per cent (+369,000), following a decline of 1.1 per cent the previous year.
Full-time employment was up 38,000 in December, the fourth increase in the past five months. However, part-time employment has grown faster (+3.4 per cent) than full time (+1.9 per cent) over the past 12 months. Full-time employment accounted for 81 per cent of total employment in December.
The number of private sector employees increased by 53,000 in December, while self-employment fell by 38,000. At the same time, public sector employment was little changed. Over the past 12 months, 332,000 (+3.1 per cent) employees were added to the private sector and 143,000 (+4.2 per cent) to the public sector. The number of self-employed declined by 106,000 (-3.9 per cent) over the same period.
December saw employment increases in manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; and natural resources. But there were declines in construction; health care and social assistance; wholesale and retail trade; business building and other support services; as well as agriculture.
Following a decline of 29,000 the previous month, manufacturing employment increased by 66,000 in December. Most of the gains were in Ontario and Quebec and were spread across a number of industries.
Transportation and warehousing also saw a strong gain in December (+45,000), pushing employment in this industry up 10.8 per cent (+85,000) compared with December 2009. Employment in natural resources increased by 7,700 in December, bringing growth in the industry to 10.8 per cent (+33,000) over the past 12 months.
On the other hand, employment in construction fell by 27,000 in December, the first notable decline since July 2009. However, construction employment was up 4.8 per cent over the past 12 months.
Also down was employment in health care and social assistance by 24,000, following gains the previous month. Employment growth in this industry totalled 3.3 per cent (+67,000) from a year earlier.
Employment in wholesale and retail trade fell by 22,000 in December. However, employment in this industry was relatively stable in 2010 (+0.7 per cent).
Business, building and other support services also saw employment losses in December (-18,000). Compared with December 2009, however, employment was up by 8.1 per cent (+50,000). Agricultural employment fell by 8,000 in December, bringing total losses to 4.2 per cent (-13,000) over the past 12 months.
Provincial gains, losses
Employment in Quebec increased by 25,000 in December, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.3 percentage points to 7.6 per cent. Quebec employment was up 102,000 (+2.6 per cent) from one year earlier.
In Ontario, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 23,000 in December. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 per cent. With December’s increase, the number of workers in Ontario grew by 2.8 per cent (+186,000) from one year earlier, above the national growth rate of 2.2 per cent. Over the 12 months of 2009, Ontario’s employment was down 1.8 per cent, 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 per cent (+9,900) compared with the same month one 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 percentage points to 7.6 per cent. Compared with December 2009, employment in the province grew by 1.5 per cent (+35,000).
All three territories saw employment gains in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same quarter of 2009. In the Northwest Territories, employment rose by 1,300 in the fourth quarter of 2010. The unemployment rate also increased by 1.7 percentage points to 7.7 per cent, the result of an increase in the number of people seeking work. The participation rate reached 73.0 per cent, the highest in the country.
In Yukon, employment rose by 1,000 during the three months ending in December 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. This increase pushed the unemployment rate down by 3.5 percentage points to 4.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the lowest nationally.
Nunavut saw employment gains of 900 in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same quarter one year earlier. The unemployment rate increased by 2.5 percentage points to 15.2 per cent, as there were more people participating in the labour market.
More youths working
Following a large decline in the number of 15-to 24-year-olds participating in the labour market in November, youth employment increased by 26,000 in December. Compared with December 2009, youth employment was up 1.8 per cent (+42,000), below the overall employment growth of 2.2 per cent.
Over the same period, people aged 55 and over saw their employment levels increase by 6.6 per cent (+186,000), of which one-half was due to aging of the population, as the number of people in this age group grew by 3.3 per cent over the period. While this age group makes up less than one-third of the working-age population, it accounted for 50 per cent of the total employment growth over the past 12 months.
At the same time, people aged 25 to 54 saw their employment level grow by 1.2 per cent (+141,000), primarily driven by men (+2.3 per cent), compared with little growth among women (+0.1 per cent).
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