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Saskatchewan shines bright against manufacturing employment slip in March

Published by Brad Fougere on April 10, 2015

Labour Force Survey Comments – March 2015

Canadian Labour Market

After recording losses in three of the past four months, the Canadian economy added 28,700 jobs in March. Labour market performance was evenly split across the sixteen major industry groupings. Eight recorded positive employment growth while the remainder, including manufacturing, lost jobs in March. With a slight increase in labour force participation for the month, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.8 per cent.


 In spite of the overall gains in March, labour market conditions in Canada remain relatively weak.  The economy actually lost 28,200 full-time positions last month, but those losses were more than offset by the addition of 56,800 part-time positions.

At the provincial level, Saskatchewan was the runaway leader in March. After posting several consecutive weak performances, Saskatchewan’s labour markets roared back to life last month. Not only did it record the fastest employment growth rate (1.2 per cent increase over February), but Saskatchewan added more total jobs than any other province (7,000 net new positions). On top of that, unlike Canada as a whole, Saskatchewan’s job gains were entirely in full-time positions.

In total, seven of the ten provinces reported higher employment levels in March, including Alberta which rebounded slightly after a disastrous February. Manitoba, New Brunswick and BC all recorded solid job gains in March, while employment was flat or up only slightly in most other provinces. Only PEI and Nova Scotia lost jobs in March.

Manufacturing Sector Labour Market

Manufacturing continued its recent slide in March, shedding another 2,400 jobs after losses of 19,900 in February. Through the first quarter of 2015, manufacturing employment is down 1.7 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. As a result, the unemployment rate in manufacturing has risen sharply in the past two months. From 4.3 per cent in January, it now sits at 5.2 per cent – its highest level in nearly a year.     


As with labour markets generally, Saskatchewan recorded the biggest percentage increase in manufacturing employment in March, with a 5.7 percent jump over February (1,400 net new positions). However, those gains only partially stem the recent bleeding in Saskatchewan, where manufacturing employment is still down 2,900 people since October.


BC recorded the largest gains in the overall number of manufacturing jobs last month, adding 2,100 new positions.  Employment was also up modestly in Ontario – the first month-over-month increase in manufacturing jobs in the province since November – as well as in Quebec and in Newfoundland and Labrador.


For their part, Alberta manufacturers are continuing to feel the impacts of lower oil prices and slashed capital expenditure budgets in the oil patch. Employment fell by 1.3 per cent in March (1,800 jobs) following a decrease of 4.1 per cent in February. The number of manufacturing jobs also fell in Manitoba and the Maritime Provinces last month.

Found in: StatsCan

National Office

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