A Trio of Provinces Shine in an Array of Canadian Labour Market Statistics
PEI, BC, and Quebec Show Growth in Canadian Labour Market
On the heels of outstanding month-to-month jobs growth nation-wide in June (+45,000) and May (+55,000), July’s increase was comparatively subdued, at only +11,000 according to the latest Labour Force Survey report published by Statistics Canada.
An especially sweet note for Canada in July, however, was provided by the national unemployment rate which dipped from 6.5% the month before to a current level of 6.3%, reducing it to its best reading since October 2008 (6.2%).
At its lowest in this century – i.e., 5.8% in October 2007 – the jobless rate was only half a percentage point better than now.
Canada’s average monthly jobs increase through the first seven months of this year has been +28,000, well ahead of 2016’s January-to-July average gain of +5,000.
July’s +11,000 lift in total jobs resulted from a hefty expansion in full-time work, +35,000, that was largely offset by a substantial contraction in part-time positions, -24,000.
Hiring by the private sector (+10,000) was notably more aggressive than by the public sector (+1,000) in the latest month.
Canadian manufacturers (+14,000) made a solid addition to their payrolls in July, while contractors (-9,000) cut staffing.
Year-over-year employment in manufacturing (+3.2%) is now speeding ahead of construction (+1.9%).
With respect to year-over-year percentage changes relative to the U.S., Canada now has the lead in three out of four major employment categories: total jobs (+2.1% for Canada versus +1.5% for the U.S.); services-providing jobs (+2.2% vs +1.7%); and manufacturing (+3.2% vs. +0.5%). But in construction, Canada’s +1.9% y/y is trailing America’s +2.8%.
Canadian Province Labour Market Statistics
Currently, there are five provinces with year-over-year gains in services-providing jobs that exceed the +2.2% national average: Prince Edward Island (PEI), +3.8%; British Columbia (BC), +3.0%; Quebec, +2.9%; Manitoba +2.5%; and Ontario, +2.4%.
In the manufacturing sector, six provinces have managed y/y percentage increases above the +3.2% national average: Saskatchewan, +15.0%; Nova Scotia (NS), +13.1%; New Brunswick (NB), +7.9%; BC, +7.1%; Alberta, +6.9%; and PEI, +6.7%.
Most of the foregoing provinces have relatively small manufacturing bases. Ontario and Quebec provide the bulk of the nation’s production-line work, and those two provinces have recorded y/y increases of +1.6% and +1.5% respectively.
In construction, there are six provinces with y/y jobs gains on a par with or above the +1.9% Canada-wide figure: PEI, +10.4%; BC, +9.4%; Quebec, +4.7%; NB, +4.5%; Saskatchewan, +2.4%; and Manitoba, +1.9%.
There are only two provinces with job creation performances superior to the national averages for services, manufacturing and construction − PEI and BC. With just a bit better record in manufacturing, Manitoba (+3.0%) would have turned the duo into a trio.
Where Manitoba has shone this year, relative to its siblings, has been in housing starts. The province’s +94% year-to-date leap in residential groundbreakings has far outdistanced the +8% for the country as a whole.
|Unemployment rate||Employment (000s)|
|Province||Jul 2016||Jul 2017||Jul 2016||Jul 2017||Net||% change|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||12.9%||15.7%||231.5||219.0||-12.5||-5.4%|
|Prince Edward Island||9.7%||10.0%||71.4||73.5||2.1||2.9%|
Also, note from Table 1 that Manitoba (at 5.0%) currently has the lowest unemployment rate among all the provinces, with second place belonging to BC (5.3%).
Besides the benefits to society at large (i.e., through promoting a more content populace), the economic point of wanting a low unemployment rate and strong jobs growth is that they are almost always accompanied by higher earnings and more spending.
The following bullet points record the y/y results for both average weekly earnings (from the latest Payroll Employment, Earnings and Hours report) and retail sales (from Statistics Canada’s Cansim Table 080-0020) for each province. The percentage changes are based on ‘current’ (i.e., not adjusted for inflation) dollars:
- Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.7% y/y for weekly earnings and 0.0% y/y for retail sales);
- PEI (+0.8% and +5.5%);
- NS (+2.2% and +5.0%);
- NB (+0.7% and +7.9%);
- Quebec (+2.4% and +4.6%);
- Ontario (+1.6% and +8.1%);
- Manitoba (+3.1% and +6.2%);
- Saskatchewan (+2.0% and +4.7%);
- Alberta (+1.7% and +9.0%);
- BC (+2.5% and +9.9%).
To provide perspective, the Canada-wide percentage changes have been +2.0% for weekly earnings and +7.3% for retail sales.
Only one province is currently beating the national averages on both counts – BC.