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Canadian Labour Force Survey: Employment Held Steady in February 2023

Austin Campbell

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Canadian Labour Force Survey

According to the most recent Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, employment in Canada remained largely unchanged after two consecutive months of growth in December 2022 and January 2023.

At 5.0%, the unemployment rate is barely above the record-low 4.9% that was seen in the summer of 2022. In February, the number of unemployed people in Canada was more than 1 million, basically unchanged from January. Moreover, employment among aged people, or those between the ages of 25 and 54, remained largely steady. The employment rate for young people also barely changed from the previous month.

For women aged 55 to 64, employment grew by 30,000 at +1.9% in February. In February, the highest percentage of women in this age range who were employed ever was above 60%. A total of 58.9% of women between 15 or older were employed in February 2023. This percentage is higher than the previous high of (58.1%) in August 2022 but lower than the all-time high of (59.2%) in October 2007.

From August 2022 to February 2023, there were around 214,000 more women working, which accounted for 61% of all job growth during that time.

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Employment Changes –  By Industry

Over the past three years, almost a third of the net increase in employment has come from the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.

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In February, employment in this business increased by 4.7% with 84,000 employment year over year, outpacing growth in all industries at +2.1%. Additionally, over the same time period, industry employees’ hourly pay increased by 9.6% from $3.83 to $43.69. In the same month, there were 15,000 more persons working in the health and social assistance sectors. Employment in social assistance and health care increased by 1.7% in year over year.

In February, there was a rise in public administration employment with 10,000 at 0.9%. It was focused in Ontario having 7,600 at 1.7%, and New Brunswick with 1,500 at 4.3%. The provinces comprised people who work for federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous administrations. Employment in the public administration sector increased 7.7% from February 2022 to February 2022, a year earlier. Business, building, and other support service employment saw a decrease of 11,000 at 1.5%, marking the sector’s first significant loss in more than a year.

Ontario saw the largest concentration of the fall with 16,000 at -5.3%. However, the sectors of construction, wholesale, and retail trade saw a largely stable employment situation.

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Employment Changes –  By Province and Territory

While employment fell in Nova Scotia, it increased in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Manitoba. Here’s a quick recap of the employment trends by province and territory:

Prince Edward Island

The employment rate in Prince Edward Island increased by 2.0% with 1,700 jobs in February, the second increase in three months. In February, there were 2,400 more people working full-time on Prince Island.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Employment rose in Newfoundland and Labrador by 1.6% with 3,800; the second increase in three months.

New Brunswick

Employment in New Brunswick climbed by 1.3% with +5,100; the second increase in the past three months.

Manitoba

After three months of no change, employment in Manitoba climbed by 0.7% with 4,900 jobs mainly by full-time employment. Nova Scotia Only Nova Scotia experienced a fall in employment in February (-4,700; -0.9%).

Other Provinces

In the other provinces, employment barely changed.

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