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Manufacturing helps drive employment higher in January

Published by Brad Fougere on February 06, 2015

Canadian Labour Market

Canadian labour markets started the year off on a positive note, adding 35,400 jobs in January – an increase of 0.2% compared to December. January’s increase represents Canada’s first month of employment growth since October, after year-end data revisions wiped out apparent gains in December. As a result, the national unemployment rate fell to 6.6 per cent from a revised 6.7 per cent last month.

Job growth was widely distributed across the country, with eight out of ten provinces posting gains. The largest increases were in Quebec (16,000 jobs) and, surprisingly, Alberta, where in spite of tumbling oil prices and threats of job cuts, the province was still able to add 13,700 net new positions last month. The fastest growth last month was in PEI, where employment was up 1.4 per cent compared to December.

Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia were the only provinces where employment fell last month. While the drop in Nova Scotia was little more than a rounding error, the decline in Saskatchewan was relatively severe. The province lost 8,400 jobs to start the year – a 1.5 per cent decrease compared to December.

Manufacturing Sector Labour Market

Manufacturing was one of the leading drivers of job growth in January, ending a string of two consecutive months of decline. Employment rose by 0.6 percent compared to December, as manufacturers added 10,700 net new positions last month. That represents the largest single-month increase in manufacturing employment since November 2013.

Even though revised data suggest that manufacturing employment has been flat since the spring, labour markets in the sector remain tight and, if anything, are getting tighter. The number of available workers in the manufacturing workforce continues to fall, driving down the unemployment rate in the sector. With January’s job gains, the manufacturing sector unemployment rate fell to just 4.3 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent a year ago.


British Columbia was far and away the leading source of new manufacturing jobs in Canada last month. The province added 7,100 new positions in January (a 4.3 per cent increase), pushing total manufacturing employment up to 170,700. That total is the largest monthly employment figure for BC manufacturing since December 2008.


Alberta also posted strong gains in manufacturing in January – a pleasant surprise given expectations that lower oil sands capital spending would lower demand for Alberta-produced manufactured goods in the supply chain. While that yet may come in the months ahead, in January the province added 4,000 new manufacturing jobs for an increase of 2.7 per cent compared to December. Newfoundland and Labrador also posted strong gains.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ontario manufacturers are still not seeing the benefits they expected from a low Canadian dollar. The province lost 3,900 manufacturing jobs in January. There are more than 21,000 fewer jobs in Ontario manufacturing than there were a year ago. Manufacturing employment also fell in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia last month

 

Found in: labour

National Office

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