Employment Picture Improves
Todayâ€™s Labour Force Survey paints an appreciably improved picture of Canadaâ€™s job market. In February, full-time employment rose by 60,000 and part-time employment fell by 39,000. Employers are not only hiring more workers, but also upgrading part-time positions to full-time positions. Almost all of the part-time jobs created in January became full-time jobs in February.
Importantly, this employment gain reflected additional paid positions as opposed to more self-reported self-employment. In fact, self-employment decreased by 17,000 as the number of employees increased by 38,000.
Despite impressive employment numbers, unemployment remains high. While total employment rose by 21,000, unemployment fell by only half as much (12,000) as the labour force expanded. In total, more than 1.5 million Canadians remain officially unemployed.
The public sector drove all of Februaryâ€™s job creation, more than offsetting a small decline in private-sector jobs. However, within the private sector, employment rose in manufacturing and resource extraction. The overall loss of private-sector employment was led by construction and service industries, especially trade, finance and real estate.
Increased employment in government, manufacturing and resources is consistent with the latest Gross Domestic Product figures, which reflected economic growth driven by government stimulus and the beginnings of an industrial recovery.
Fewer jobsÂ in construction and real estate may suggest a slowdownÂ of the recent housing boom. However, one month does not make a trend.
Alberta Bucks National Improvement
Partially offsetting gains in other provinces, Alberta lost 15,000 jobs in February. Albertaâ€™s unemployment rate jumped 0.3% (from 6.6% to 6.9%). By contrast, the unemployment rate declined by 0.4% in both neighbouring provinces: BC and Saskatchewan.