Labour Force Survey

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March 2011 (Previous release)

Overall employment was unchanged in March, as gains in full-time work were offset by declines in part time. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 7.7%. Over the past 12 months, employment has risen by 1.8% (+305,000).

Employment

Full-time employment rose by 91,000 in March, and was offset by a decline of 92,000 in part time. This large full-time increase brought gains in full-time employment to 251,000 (+1.8%) over the past 12 months, while part time increased by 54,000 (+1.7%).

There were employment gains in accommodation and food services as well as construction in March, and losses in health care and social assistance and in public administration.

The number of public sector employees fell in March. Compared with 12 months earlier, public sector growth (+2.4%) was slightly faster than that of private sector employees (+2.1%), while self-employment was unchanged.

In March, employment declined in Quebec and increased in Prince Edward Island. There were no notable changes in overall employment in the other provinces.

Note to readers

Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates are based on a sample, and are therefore subject to sampling variability. Estimates for smaller geographic areas or industries will have more variability. For an explanation of sampling variability of estimates, and how to use standard errors to assess this variability, consult the "Data quality" section of the publication Labour Force Information (71-001-X, free).

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.

Employment increased for men aged 25 and over, while it declined among youths aged 15 to 24 and women 55 and over.

Unemployment rate

Gains in accommodation and food services as well as construction

The number of workers in accommodation and food services increased by 36,000 in March. This gain brought employment in this industry to roughly the same level as 12 months earlier.

Employment in construction rose by 24,000 in March, continuing an upward trend that began in July 2009. Over the past 12 months, employment in this industry has increased by 5.3% (+64,000), one of the highest rates of growth among all industries.

There were small losses in health care and social assistance (-17,000) and in public administration (-13,000). Over the past 12 months, employment in these industries increased by 2.9% and 2.1% respectively.

Little employment change across provinces

Employment in Quebec edged down 15,000 in March, and the unemployment rate held steady at 7.7%. Over the past 12 months, employment growth in the province was 1.6% (+62,000).

In March, employment in Prince Edward Island increased by 1,400 and the unemployment rate was 11.2%. This increase brought employment just above levels of one year earlier.

In Ontario, total employment was little changed, as full-time gains of 63,000 were offset by part-time losses of 58,000. The unemployment rate was 8.1%. Over the past 12 months, employment grew by 2.1% in this province.

While there was little change in employment in British Columbia, the unemployment rate fell from 8.8% to 8.1% as fewer people looked for work.

Gains among adult men offset by losses among youths, women 55 and over

Employment for men aged 25 and over was up 32,000 in March, with increases in full time. The gains were shared between men 25 to 54 and 55 and over. Employment growth over the past 12 months among core-age men was 2.1%, while that of men 55 and over was 4.9%.

Employment in March was unchanged for core-age women and fell by 17,000 for women aged 55 and over. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was unchanged for core-age women, while it increased by 6.6% for women 55 and over.

The number of employed 15- to 24- year-olds fell by 17,000 in March, with notable losses in part-time work. The unemployment rate was little changed at 14.4%. Compared with 12 months earlier, youth employment increased by 0.5%.

Quarterly update for the territories

The Labour Force Survey also collects labour market data about the territories. These data are produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages. The territorial estimates presented in this release are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons are made on a year-over-year basis.

All three territories saw employment gains in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same quarter of 2010.

In Yukon, employment increased by 2,500 in the three months ending in March 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate was 5.1%.

Employment in the Northwest Territories rose by 1,700 from the first quarter of 2010 to the same period in 2011, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.3%.

In Nunavut, employment increased by 500 in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the first quarter of 2010. However, the number of people searching for work also increased, bringing the unemployment rate up to 17.3%.

Available on CANSIM: tables 282-0001 to 282-0042, 282-0047 to 282-0063, 282-0069 to 282-0095 and 282-0100 to 282-0121.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3701.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (71-001-X, free), is now available online for the week ending March 19. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour. LAN and bulk prices are available on request. The DVD-ROM Labour Force Historical Review, 2010 (71F0004X, $209), will be available on April 11. See How to order products.

Data tables are also now available online. From the Subject module of our website, choose Labour.

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on May 6.

For general 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 Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118; jason.gilmore@statcan.gc.ca) or Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; vincent.ferrao@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.