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January 2006
Vol. 7, no. 1

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Recent changes in employment by industry
Vincent Ferrao

  • Overall labour market conditions continued to improve in 2005. Employment grew by 1.6%, slightly more than in the previous year, with all of the increase in full-time jobs. The unemployment rate hit its lowest level in over 30 years toward the latter part of the year.
  • Since the end of 2002, jobs in manufacturing have fallen sharply, down 149,000 (-6.4%). The 2005 drop was experienced in most provinces, but especially in Quebec and Ontario.
  • Times have seldom been better for construction, which has been boosted by low interest rates. In the last three years alone, employment rose by about 19%. The gains were particularly strong in British Columbia (50%) and Quebec (21%).
  • Since the end of 2002, employment in natural resources has risen by just under 40,000, an increase of about 15%. The growth was led by Alberta's oil and gas industry, where employment has jumped by about 30% in the last three years.

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Vincent Ferrao is with the Labour Statistics Division. He can be reached at (613) 951- 4750 or

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