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November 2001     Vol. 2, no. 11

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Trends in part-time job search

Berouk Terefe

  • In 2000, 1.1 million people were unemployed. Of these, 757,000 were looking for full-time jobs, 207,000 were seeking part-time work, and the rest (126,000) were either on temporary layoff or were starting a job in a few weeks.
  • In phase with the business cycle, the share of full-time job seekers among the unemployed fluctuated between 75.0% and 81.7% from 1976 to 1996. This share plunged to 73.4% in 1997, and declined steadily thereafter to reach 69.5% in 2000. In contrast, the share for seekers of part-time work showed a slight but steady upward trend (from 11.7% to 14.8%) between 1976 and 1996. A large increase (to 17.3%) in 1997 was followed by increases in the next two years. The share stabilized at 19.0% in 2000. Changes to the Labour Force Survey questionnaire in 1997 were mainly responsible for the large changes in the full- and part-time job-seeking shares between 1996 and 1997.
  • Focusing only on the 1976-to-1996 period, almost all (99%) of the overall increase in the share of the part-time job-seeking group can be attributed to a trend effect. Changes due to demographic factors had hardly any net effect on the increase. Youth accounted for all of the trend effect.
  • Unemployed people seeking part-time work are a heterogeneous group. In 2000, the majority were women, were between the ages of 15 and 24, and had no children under 16.


Berouk Terefe is with the Income and Expenditure Accounts Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-4616 or

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