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Manufacturing employment growth highest in BC in 2014: StatsCan

Published by Brad Fougere on January 09, 2015

Canadian Labour Market

The national job market coasted its way through December, posting its second consecutive month of very small losses. The economy shed 4,300 jobs last month, which amounted to little more than a rounding error compared to the more than 17.9 million people employed across Canada.  As a result, the unemployment rate held steady at 6.6 per cent.

While there were no tremendous gains or losses in any one province, there was a distinct East-West divide in December’s job numbers. Employment was up in all four western provinces, led by Alberta which added 5,700 jobs that month. Meanwhile, all provinces east of Manitoba saw employment levels fall. The decline was largest in Quebec, where there were 6,700 fewer jobs in December compared to a month earlier.

December’s labour force numbers close the books on what has been a forgettable year for job creation in Canada. For the year as a whole, national employment was up just 0.8 per cent compared a 1.3 per cent increase in the size of the working-age population. Nation-wide, the unemployment rate in 2014 was 6.9 per cent, compared to 7.1 per cent in 2013. The only reason the jobless rate fell in 2014 was because more Canadians gave up looking for work.

Provincially, Alberta was far and away the leader in employment growth in 2014. The province added 66,400 positions last year (up 3.0 per cent) – accounting for nearly half of all new jobs across Canada last year. Saskatchewan posted the next fastest growth at 1.9 per cent, followed by BC (0.9 per cent). Employment fell in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec last year.

Manufacturing Sector Labour Market

While the overall labour market was essentially flat in December, the manufacturing sector stumbled over the finish line as relatively steep job losses wiped out most of the gains made in October and November. Manufacturing employment fell by 18,300 positions in December, a decline of 1.0 per cent compared to the previous month.

In spite of that decrease, the unemployment rate in manufacturing fell from 4.7 per cent in November to 4.4 per cent last month. The decrease was the result of a significant number of Canadians moving out of the manufacturing labour force and choosing to work (or look for work) elsewhere.

Ontario has been the big story in manufacturing employment for the past several months and December was no exception. The province added a significant number of new manufacturing jobs in October and November, but sharp losses in December (12,400 jobs) more than wiped out November’s gains. Alberta also lost 3,700 manufacturing jobs in December – a 2.5 per cent drop in just one month. The steepest decline in manufacturing employment, however, was in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of jobs fell by 9.5 per cent in just one month.

Manitoba and PEI were the only provinces to add manufacturing jobs in December.

For the year as a whole, the number of jobs in manufacturing in Canada fell slightly in 2014 (by 0.2 per cent, or 2,700 jobs). In spite of this decrease, the manufacturing labour market continued to tighten as more Canadians exited the sector to work elsewhere. As a result, the annual unemployment rate in manufacturing fell from 5.2 per cent in 2013 to 4.8 per cent last year.

Reflecting a general economic trend in Canada, there was an east-west divide in manufacturing labour markets in 2014. Strong gains in the West – especially in BC and Alberta – were not quite enough to cover losses in central and Atlantic Canada. In spite of December’s setback, BC was Canada’s leader in manufacturing job creation in 2014, posting a remarkable 6.1 per cent growth rate over 2013 levels. Alberta followed close behind with a 6.0 per cent increase. Together, those two provinces added more than 18,200 new manufacturing jobs in 2014. However, those gains were entirely wiped out by losses in Ontario. Manufacturing employment in that province fell by 1.6 per cent in 2014 – a loss of 18,600 jobs for the year.

Found in: StatsCan

National Office

Alberta British Columbia
Manitoba New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador Nova Scotia
Ontario Québec
Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan