Record number of Canadians working

Employment rate hits highest level ever, 2002 was best year for job growth since 1987

While the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.5 per cent in December, the employment rate hit a record high of 62.4 per cent according to Statistics Canada.

The employment rate is defined as the proportion of the working age population holding a job. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.5 per cent, though, because of a large number of people entering the labour force.

According to Statistics Canada, 58,000 jobs were created last month — most of them full time. Over 2002, employment rose 3.7 per cent, with 560,000 new jobs created, the highest annual growth rate since 1987.

Where were the jobs created in 2002?

Overall job growth was concentrated in manufacturing, health care and social assistance, educational services and construction.

Employment rose in every province with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. Ontario and Quebec led the way, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the overall increase.

Manufacturing posts strong gains, but ends the year badly

The manufacturing sector added 125,000 jobs in 2002, up 5.6 per cent for the year. The largest gains in 2002 were in the manufacturing of food, machinery and wood products.

But the year ended on a bit of a negative note as manufacturing employment fell by 25,000 jobs in December, almost entirely the result of layoffs in the automotive industry in Ontario.

Record proportion of women working

Job strength continued among adult women, increasing by 37,000 in December. The unemployment rate for adult women remained unchanged, though, at 6.1 per cent as a result of an increased number of women in the labour force.

Sustained growth of the proportion of adult women in the labour force over 2002 brought their participation rate to 60.7 per cent in December, the highest ever recorded according to Statistics Canada.

Adult men didn’t fare quite as well in December as the number of jobs edged up 15,000. Despite the increase in jobs, the unemployment rate for adult men rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 per cent because of an increase in the number of adult men looking for work.

Canadian youth benefited from a strong labour market in 2002 with employment rising 4.5 per cent, or 104,000 new jobs. Most of the increase was in part-time work. For 2002, the youth unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 13.3 per cent.

Unemployment rates by province

Canada: 7.5 per cent
Newfoundland and Labrador: 18.5 per cent
Prince Edward Island: 10.9 per cent
Nova Scotia: 9.3 per cent
New Brunswick: 10.2 per cent
Quebec: 8.4 per cent
Ontario: 7 per cent
Manitoba: 5.0 per cent
Saskatchewan: 5.6 per cent
Alberta: 5.1 per cent
British Columbia: 8.3 per cent

Jobless rates by selected city

St. John’s, Nfld.: 10 per cent
Halifax: 7.4 per cent
Montreal: 8.2 per cent
Ottawa: 7.7 per cent
Toronto: 7.1 per cent
Hamilton: 6.1 per cent
Kitchener, Ont.: 5.1 per cent
London, Ont.: 6.4 per cent
Oshawa, Ont.: 6.1 per cent
Windsor, Ont.: 7.5 per cent
Winnipeg: 7.5 per cent
Calgary: 5.7 per cent
Vancouver: 7.9 per cent

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