Labour Force Survey: 2011 revisions

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Statistics Canada has an established practice of revising the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates after a new series of postcensal population estimates become available. This standard revision includes: an update of the LFS estimates to reflect the most recent series of postcensal population estimates; updates to more current industry and occupation classifications; an update of geographic boundaries; as well as an update of seasonal adjustment. These revised LFS estimates are now available.

Up to December 2010, labour force estimates had been based on population data from the 2001 Census. Starting with today's release, all estimates are now based on the 2006 Census population counts. With this revision, the total Canadian population has been revised downward 0.3%, which is approximately half the size of the previous revision in 2005.

Levels of employment and unemployment have been revised downward when using the new population estimates. For December 2010, overall employment was revised down 0.6%, mostly the result of a downward revision of the population aged 25 to 54, the group with the highest employment rate. However, the unemployment rate was unchanged for December 2010.

Employment

Compared with the employment peak of October 2008, employment in December 2010 was lower by 30,000 (-0.2%) based on the revised LFS estimates.

Between the employment peak of October 2008 and the recent low in July 2009, the revised LFS estimates show an employment decline of 428,000 (-2.5%). Between July 2009 and December 2010, the revised LFS estimates indicate employment increased by 398,000 (+2.4%).

For the provinces, employment levels in December 2010 were revised downward by 1% or more for New Brunswick (-2.4%); British Columbia (-1.9%); Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.8%) and Prince Edward Island (-1.1%). The only upward revision was in Alberta (+0.8%).

Unemployment rate

Available on CANSIM: tables 282-0001 to 282-0042, 282-0047 to 282-0051, 282-0054, 282-0055, 282-0060 to 282-0063, 282-0069 to 282-0089, 282-0092 to 282-0095 and 282-0100 to 282-0121.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3701.

To facilitate access to the revised estimates, LFS data on CANSIM will be free of charge from January 28 to February 11.

More detail on the 2011 revisions to the LFS data can be found in the article "The 2011 revisions of the Labour Force Survey", which is now available as part of the Improvements to the Labour Force Survey (71F0031X2011001, free) series. From the Key resource module of our website, choose Publications.

The January 2011 Labour Force Survey estimates will be released on February 4.

For more information or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-873-8788; 613-951-4090; labour@statcan.gc.ca). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jeannine Usalcas (613-951-4720; jeannine.usalcas@statcan.gc.ca) or Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118; jason.gilmore@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.