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Employment in Canada dipped slightly in June, giving back some of the strong gains made a month earlier. After adding nearly 59,000 net new positions in May, the Canadian economy shed net 6,400 jobs in June – a decrease of less than 0.1 per cent compared to the previous month. Because of a small drop in labour force participation, the national unemployment rate held steady at 6.8 per cent – unchanged since February.

Although the headlines will talk about job losses, the underlying numbers are remarkably positive. The story last month was entirely about the conversion of part-time jobs into full-time positions. All told, there were 71,200 part-time jobs eliminated across the country, while at the same time, 64,800 new full-time positions were created. Moreover, most of the job losses were in relatively low-paying sectors. This combination will help to improve labour income gains across Canada.

With half of 2015 already in the books, overall job growth has remained sluggish. Employment through the first six months of the year is just 0.8 per cent higher compared to the first six months of 2014. The good news, however, is that momentum is building as year-over-year job gains are picking up. Compared to last June, employment is 1.0 per cent higher – the second-highest rate of year-over-year growth in more than 18 months. 

On an industry-by-industry basis, labour markets were decidedly mixed. After declining sharply in May, public sector jobs rebounded last month, adding 9,500 new positions (mostly in BC) – an increase of about 1.1 per cent. There was also an uptick in construction employment (8,000 new jobs) as well as transportation and warehousing, and professional, scientific and technical services. June also saw a modest recovery in the number of forestry, mining, and oil and gas extraction jobs. However, there are still more than 19,000 fewer workers in those industries compared to six months ago.

At the other end of the spectrum, the number of miscellaneous service jobs (repair and maintenance, personal services and advocacy organizations) fell sharply in June. The 2.2-per cent decline represented a loss of 16,800 jobs in those industries. Employment was also down in business services (13,700 jobs) and in accommodation and food services (8,700 jobs), although in the latter case, the number of jobs should recover next month as the Pan Am Games get underway in Toronto. 
At the provincial level, job losses were heavily concentrated in Quebec, where employment fell by 0.8 per cent, translating into more than 33,000 fewer jobs. New Brunswick also posted a 1.0 per cent drop in employment, while the number of jobs was also down slightly in Alberta. BC, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador all recorded positive employment growth.

Manufacturing Sector Labour Market

After adding 21,500 new jobs in May, the manufacturing sector lost about a third of those positions in June. Employment decreased by 0.4 per cent for the month – representing a loss of about 7,200 jobs. Even so, with overall employment totalling more than 1.71 million people, the number of manufacturing jobs in Canada remains at its highest level since March 2014.
While employment is higher than at any point since late last winter, the decline in manufacturing jobs from last July through to March 2015 continues to weigh on overall growth numbers. For the first half of 2015, manufacturing employment is 0.8 per cent lower than over the same period last year.

Provincially, manufacturing job losses were concentrated in Ontario and Quebec which shed 5,200 and 3,600 positions, respectively. BC and New Brunswick also saw a reduction in manufacturing employment in June. Conversely, manufacturing employment rose sharply in Newfoundland and Labrador, while there were smaller gains in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
In spite of the job losses in June, BC remains Canada’s runaway leader in manufacturing job growth in 2015. Through the first six months of the year, manufacturing employment is up 7.4 per cent compared to last year, led by significant gains in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan. PEI’s small manufacturing sector is also enjoying a relatively large increase in the number of jobs in 2015.


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