Unemployment rate drops to 7.5 per cent

Alberta led the country in job creation in November, Ontario and Quebec post strong gains in manufacturing

The unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 7.5 per cent in November as employment rose by about 42,000 jobs, according to Statistics Canada.

So far in 2002, employment has increased by 502,000 jobs or 3.3 per cent.

Rebound in full-time work

Full-time employment rose by 55,000 after edging down over the September and October.

Employment in manufacturing rose by 33,000 in November, all in full-time. Employment in the manufacturing sector is up 150,000 (6.8 per cent) so far in 2002, with the largest increases in food, computers, electronics and machinery manufacturing. Almost all of the manufacturing gains were in Quebec (21,000) and Ontario (10,000).

Increase in hours worked

The number of hours worked in the economy (514.9 million) rose 1.2 per cent, as it rebounded from the 1.6 per cent decrease in October. The decline in hours worked in October was primarily a result of what Statistics Canada calls an “unusually” large number of employees taking time off for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fewer jobs in construction

Construction employment fell 16,000 in November, the first decline in seven months. Job gains so far in 2002 total 48,000 (up 5.7%), reflecting strong consumer demand for housing. The decrease in November was in Quebec (down 8,000), Alberta (down 6,000) and British Columbia (down 5,000).

In November, there was a slight increase in education services (up 11,000), partly offsetting the decline in October. So far in 2002, employment in this industry is up by 59,000 (6.1 per cent).

More employees but fewer self-employed

The number of private sector employees rose by 57,000, the fourth consecutive monthly increase, bringing gains so far in 2002 to 280,000 (up 2.8per cent).

The number of public sector employees increased by 17,000, offsetting most of the decline in October. There has been strength in public sector employment throughout 2002 with gains of 123,000 (up 4.3%). Most of this increase has been in education services and health care and social assistance.

Self-employment fell by 31,000, partly offsetting the gain in October. Despite this decline, self-employment is up 99,000 (4.3 per cent) so far in 2002, spurred by growth in professional, scientific and technical services, agriculture and health care and social assistance.

Alberta leads job growth

In Alberta, employment increased by 16,000 with gains spread across a number of industries. So far in 2002, employment in the province is up 55,000 (3.3 per cent). In November, the increase in employment pushed the unemployment rate down 0.4 percentage points to 5.3%.

Employment edged up 13,000 in Ontario with gains in manufacturing, health care and social assistance. There were declines in management, administrative and other support services. Employment in the province is up 182,000 (3.1 per cent) so far in 2002, primarily because of strength in the second half of the year. The increase in employment in November combined with a decline in the number of persons in search of work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.5 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.

Overall employment in Quebec increased slightly (up 9,000), as a gain in full-time employment (26,000) was partly offset by a decline in part-time. So far in 2002, employment in the province has increased by 137,000 (3.9 per cent) with most of the gains occurring in the first half of the year. In November, there was strong job growth in manufacturing (up 21,000), but this was partly offset by declines in a number of other industries, most notably construction (down 8,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (down 8,000). The unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points to 8.6 per cent, as more people entered the labour force.

Employment rose by 3,000 in Nova Scotia and is now just slightly above (up one per cent) the level at the end of 2001. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 per cent as the gain in employment was matched by an increase in the number of people in the labour force.

In New Brunswick, employment edged up 2,000, bringing gains so far in 2002 to 12,000 (up 3.6 per cent). The unemployment rate declined 0.5 percentage points in November to 10.3 per cent.

There was little change in employment for the other provinces in November.

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