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Side menu bar Catalogue Number 75-001-XIE Table of contents Latest issue News from The Daily Latest data Survey information Back issues Feedback Studies Latest issue in PDF

January 2006
Vol. 7, no. 1

Perspectives on Labour and Income

The labour market in 2005

(Larger image)

Large changes for older workers

The population aged 15 and over expanded 1.4% between 2004 and 2005. Labour force growth lagged behind at 0.9%, while the rate for those not in the labour force rose 2.4%.

The overall employment growth rate of 1.4% masks a larger increase in full-time job creation (1.6%); the number of part-time jobs also increased by 0.5%. The average number of unemployed fell by 5.1%.

For those not in the labour force, most of the increase was among those who wanted to work (7.0%). The discouraged worker component—those who want work but despair of finding it—fell slightly. Students wanting work but not looking because of school jumped by 16.4%.

The employment rate of men and women aged 55 and over has increased almost 20% since December 2001.

The aging of the baby boomers is reflected in the 3.1% growth in the population 55 and over. However, with the improved labour market, employment rose (4.7%) while unemployment dropped (-6.8%). (Large changes for older workers - Chart and Table)

Unemployment rates down, employment rates up

The effect of larger cohorts with relatively high participation and employment rates reaching age 55 is pushing the employment rate among older Canadians steadily upwards (4.8 percentage points since 2001).

Between December 2004 and December 2005, the declining numbers of unemployed lowered unemployment rates for all age groups.

Although the employment rate was up at least marginally for most groups, the participation rate declined for all except those 55 and over. (Unemployment rates down, employment rates up - Table and Chart)

Full-time employment improves

Between December 2004 and December 2005, full-time employment increased by 2.2% while part-time employment fell by 1.1%, resulting in a net job gain of 1.6%. (Full-time employment improves - Chart and Table)

Strong growth in self-employment and public-sector jobs

Public-sector jobs (2.2%) grew at more than double the pace of private-sector jobs (1.0%) over the course of 2005. Self-employment experienced even greater gains, with 3.4%. (Strong growth in self-employment and public-sector jobs - Chart and Table)

Jobs added in most provinces

In 2005, employment growth was concentrated in central Canada and the two western-most provinces. New Brunswick and Manitoba also saw a slight gain, but the other four provinces had declines-the largest proportionately being in Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.1%). In terms of number, the most jobs were added in Ontario (90,000), British Columbia (74,000), Quebec (64,000), and Alberta (34,000).

Several provinces experienced declines in their unemployment rate in 2005, the largest in British Columbia (-1.2 percentage points). Newfoundland and Labrador saw its unemployment rate jump by 1 point. (Jobs added in most provinces - Table and Chart)

Part-time work

In 2005, the percentage of workers who involuntarily worked part time decreased slightly, while part-time work increased among those attending school, those caring for children, those who chose to work part time.

The bulk of part-time workers continue to be youth and adult women. Almost three-quarters of young part-timers work short hours voluntarily because of school; among adults, about 40% prefer part-time hours. (Part-time work - Chart and Table)


Women working for a wage or salary earned 84 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2005, up marginally from the year before. Only those 55 or over did not share in the increase. (Earnings - Table)

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