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Labour Force Survey Analysis – January 2016

Canadian Labour Market

In spite of Ontario’s best efforts, Canadian labour markets opened 2016 on a decidedly tepid note. For the country as a whole, there were 5,700 fewer jobs in January compared to December, which effectively represents a rounding error compared to the 1.8 million Canadians employed across the country. They were enough, however, to bump the unemployment rate up to 7.2 per cent in January from 7.1 per cent the previous month. 

employment canada jan 16 chart image

The overall labour market story in January is one of flat growth or job losses all across the country, nearly offset by solid growth in Ontario. Ontario added nearly 20,000 new jobs to start the year – an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the previous month. However, employment was down in every single province outside Ontario with the exception of BC were the number of jobs essentially held steady.

Job losses were steepest in Alberta, where net 10,000 positions were eliminated (a decrease of 0.4 per cent) – driven down by significant retrenchment in the province’s struggling manufacturing sector. Employment was also down in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of jobs fell by 0.8 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.

labour sector chart imaage

On an industry basis, job losses were concentrated in goods-producing industries, which shed more than 25,000 jobs last month. Agriculture industries were especially hard-hit, with the number of net jobs falling by 4.6 per cent in a single month (13,700 net jobs lost). Employment was also down in manufacturing and construction. By contrast, there were nearly 20,000 net jobs creates in services industries in January. Businesses in health care and social assistance added 11,300 jobs, while information, culture and recreation industries contributed another 15,800.

Manufacturing Sector Labour Market

mfg employment jan 2016 chart image

After adding more than 25,000 jobs from September to December, manufacturing employment was flat across Canada in January with the notable exception of Alberta. January was a difficult month for Alberta manufacturers, many of whom have been running out of work as they fill the last of their remaining orders with very little new business in the pipe. Alberta lost 8.6 per cent of its manufacturing workforce in a single month – adding up to 11,800 jobs eliminated.

mfg employment Alberta jan 16 chart image

Outside of Alberta, manufacturing employment was up very slightly, with 800 new positions added in January. Quebec led the way last month, creating 4,700 net new positions – an increase of just under 1.0 per cent compared to December. For its part, manufacturing employment in Ontario fell slightly in January (2,400 jobs lost). That decrease represents the first bit of bad news for Ontario manufacturing in a while; the province’s manufacturers have added 20,500 positions to their payrolls since September. 



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