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Construction employment on the mend


April 11, 2010
By Andy Bateman

April
11, 2010 – Canada’s
employment

edged up by 18,000 in March, continuing an
upward trend that began in July 2009, says the latest Statistics Canada Labour
Force Survey.  The unemployment rate
remained unchanged at 8.2%.

March's employment
increase brings total gains to 176,000 (+1.1%) since July 2009.

 

Part-time
employment was up by 32,000 in March, more than offsetting full-time
losses. Despite the gain in March, part-time employment has fallen by 0.6%
since July 2009, while full-time work has grown by 1.4%.

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The number of
private sector employees increased by 42,000 in March. However, since
July, employment has grown at a faster rate among employees in the public
sector than those in the private sector (+2.0% versus +1.4%). Over the same
period, the number of self-employed has declined by 1.3%.

 

Industries with
notable increases in March were professional, scientific and technical
services; construction; and natural resources. These gains were partially
offset by declines in "other services;" business, building and other
support services; and transportation and warehousing.

 

Employment edged
up in Ontario, Quebec
and Saskatchewan
in March, while there was little change in all other provinces.

 

Average hourly
wages were up by 2.2% in March compared with a year earlier. This increase
is similar to those seen in recent months.

 

Strength in the goods-producing sector in March

Employment
in the goods-producing sector was up by 40,000 in March, with most of
the gains found in construction and natural resources.

 

Following a
four-month pause in growth, construction added 21,000 workers in
March.

 

Employment in
natural resources increased by 13,000 in March and has been trending
up since October 2009, with gains totalling 36,000 (+12.0%)
since that time. Most of the increases were in mining, oil and gas extraction.

 

Following
significant losses in manufacturing employment between
October 2008 and June 2009 (-212,000 or -10.8%), employment
in this industry has stabilized, with March being the sixth consecutive month
of little or no change.

 

In the service
sector in March, the only notable employment increase was in professional,
scientific and technical services (+38,000). At the same time, there were
declines of 30,000 in "other services," which includes
repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services. There were also
losses in business, building and other support services (-26,000) as well as
transportation and warehousing (-20,000).

 

Employment in
transportation and warehousing, an industry that has close ties to
manufacturing, has been trending down since the employment peak of
October 2008, with total losses of 83,000.

 

Despite recent
strength in the goods-producing sector, employment in that sector
remains 286,000 below its peak of October 2008. Conversely,
employment in the service sector is 45,000 above its
October 2008 level.

 

Three provinces
share employment growth

Employment in Ontario
edged up by 10,000 in March, continuing the growth seen since
May 2009 (+102,000). The unemployment rate
declined 0.3 percentage points to 8.8% in March.

 

Employment was
also up slightly in Quebec
(+6,000) in March, bringing total gains in that province
to 56,000 since July 2009. The unemployment rate was little
changed in March at 8.0%.

 

Following an
increase in February, Saskatchewan's
employment level continued to rise in March, up 3,300. With more people
participating in the labour force, the unemployment rate increased
by 0.8 percentage points to 5.1%. Despite this increase, Saskatchewan's unemployment rate remained the lowest of
all provinces, closely followed by Manitoba
at 5.2%.

 

Despite little
change in Alberta's
employment in March, the unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points
to 7.5%, as more people entered the labour force. This unemployment rate
is the highest since 1996. Alberta
is the only province with an employment decline since July 2009.

 

Employment little changed across demographic
groups

There was little
change in employment among demographic groups in March. Since July 2009,
the largest gains in employment have been among women
aged 25 to 54 (+84,000) and men aged 55 and over
(+52,000).

During this
eight-month period, employment was up only slightly among youth; men
aged 25 to 54; and women aged 55 and over.


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