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Labour Force Survey, December 2014

Released: 2015-01-09

Employment in December was virtually unchanged (-4,300), as gains in full-time work were offset by losses in part time. The unemployment rate remained at 6.6%.

Employment gains in 2014 amounted to 186,000 (+1.0%), with increases in the second half of the year accounting for most of the growth. Compared with 12 months earlier, the total number of hours worked increased by 0.7%.

A year-end look at the 2014 data will be published in The Daily, along with the revised historical estimates, on January 28, 2015. See the note to readers for more details.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment - Description and data table

Chart 1: Employment - Description and data table

In December, employment declined among women aged 25 to 54 and increased among men in this age group.

Employment declined in Prince Edward Island and was little changed in the other provinces.

There were fewer people working in accommodation and food services as well as 'other services' in December. At the same time, employment increased in agriculture, public administration and natural resources.

Full-time employment rose by 54,000 in December, while there was a decline of 58,000 in part time.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment rate - Description and data table
Unemployment rate

Chart 2: Unemployment rate - Description and data table

Employment declines among women aged 25 to 54

There were 24,000 fewer women aged 25 to 54 employed in December. Their unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2%, as fewer of them participated in the labour market.

Employment among men aged 25 to 54 increased by 23,000 in December and their unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 5.5%, their lowest rate since 2008.

There was little employment change among the other demographic groups in December.

Employment in most provinces holds steady

In December, employment in Prince Edward Island declined by 1,000. The unemployment rate for the province was little changed at 11.0%, as fewer people participated in the labour market.

In British Columbia, employment was virtually unchanged in December. However, as fewer people searched for work, the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 5.4%—the lowest in the province since 2008.

Employment in New Brunswick was little changed in December. At the same time, the unemployment rate increased 0.6 percentage points to 10.2%, as more people looked for work.

Employment in the remaining provinces was little changed between November and December.

Industry perspective

Employment fell by 33,000 in accommodation and food services in December.

In December, employment fell by 14,000 in 'other services,' such as private household services provided by nannies and home support workers.

Employment in agriculture rose by 15,000 in December, mostly in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production.

Employment increased by 14,000 in public administration, mainly in provincial as well as municipal public administration.

In December, the number of people working in natural resources increased by 10,000.

The number of self-employed people, as well as private and public sector employees was virtually unchanged in December.

Quarterly update for the territories

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) also collects labour market information about the territories. This information is produced monthly in the form of three-month moving averages. The following data are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons should only be made on a year-over-year basis.

From the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014, employment in Yukon was little changed and the unemployment rate was also little changed at 4.5%.

Employment in the Northwest Territories declined by 1,200 (-5.4%) in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the same period a year earlier. At the same time, the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.4%.

In Nunavut, employment was little changed over this period and the unemployment rate declined 2.3 percentage points to 12.3%.

  Note to readers

Following the release of the population estimates from each census of population, a standard revision is applied to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates. Due to the revisions, LFS data will not be available in CANSIM starting on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, and will become available again according to the schedule below. The most commonly used tables will be released on January 28, 2015.

January 28, 2015

CANSIM tables 282-0001 to 282-0024, 282-0085 to 282-0089, 282-0092 to 282-0095, 282-0100, 282-0122 to 282-0136.

January 29, 2015

CANSIM tables 282-0027 to 282-0042, 282-0047 to 282-0051, 282-0069 to 282-0078.

January 30, 2015

CANSIM tables 279-0029 to 279-0039, 282-0025 to 282-0026, 282-0101 to 282-0108, 282-0137 to 282-0140, 282-0200 to 282-0225.

February 2, 2015

CANSIM tables 282-0079 to 282-0084.

The revised estimates will include the following changes:

1. LFS data will be adjusted to reflect the estimates from the 2011 Census of Population and will be revised back to 2001. LFS data are currently based on population estimates from the 2006 Census of Population.

2. Geographic boundaries will be updated to the 2011 Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) from the current 2006 SGC. This change will slightly modify the boundaries of some census metropolitan areas and economic regions (ERs).

3. Six ERs will be combined into three for data quality reasons.

4. While the overall imputation strategy will not change, the revisions will include an update to the variables used to create the imputation groups to reflect both current response patterns and relationships between key variables. This change will be implemented retroactively starting with the January 2008 data.

5. The seasonal adjustment methodology applied to the actual hours worked series will be improved to better reflect hours lost as a result of holidays in the reference week. This change will affect CANSIM table 282-0092.

New CANSIM tables will be created for all sub-provincial areas based on the 2011 Census boundaries and the data series will be available for 2001 and onwards. Concordance tables for the CANSIM vectors are now available.

Key labour market trends as well as rates of unemployment, employment and participation will be essentially unchanged as a result of these updates, and changes to most estimates will be minor.

Note that these revisions will not include updates to the classification structures of industries and occupations. These updates will take place in January 2016.

More detail on the upcoming revisions will be available on January 28, 2015, in the article "The 2015 revisions of the Labour Force Survey," which will be released as part of the Improvements to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71F0031X) series.

Sample redesign

Every 10 years, the LFS undergoes a sample redesign to reflect changes in population and labour market characteristics, as well as new definitions of geographical boundaries. The redesigned sample will be introduced starting in January 2015 and will be fully implemented by June 2015.

Note to readers

The LFS estimates for December 2014 are for the week of December 7 to 13.

The LFS estimates are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. As a result, monthly estimates will show more variability than trends observed over longer time periods. For more information, see "Interpreting Monthly Changes in Employment from the Labour Force Survey." Estimates for smaller geographic areas or industries also 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 (Catalogue number71-001-X).

This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.

The employment rate is the number of employed persons as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The rate for a particular group (for example, youths aged 15 to 24) is the number employed in that group as a percentage of the population for that group.

The unemployment rate is the number unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).

The participation rate is the number of employed and unemployed as a percentage of the population. For more detailed information, see the Guide to the Labour Force Survey (Catalogue number71-543-G).

Seasonal adjustment

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted estimates, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

A more detailed summary, Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X), is now available for the week ending December 13. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects then Labour.

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

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on February 6, 2015.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; or Andrew Fields (613-951-3551;, Labour Statistics Division.

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