Employment up in August, says StatsCan

According to the Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, following a decline in July, employment edged up by 15,000 in August. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1 per cent. However, since the start of the year, employment has increased by 87,000 (+0.5 per cent), a much smaller increase compared to the 221,000 (+1.3 per cent) of the first eight months of 2007.

The good news is that employment gains in August were all in full-time work. So far in 2008, increases have been a mix of both full- and part-time employment compared with mostly full-time growth during the same period of 2007.

The employment gains occurred in Saskatchewan (increased by 6,000) and Ontario, but were partially offset by losses in Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Employment was virtually unchanged in the other provinces. For the first eight months of 2008, employment gains have been in Ontario and the western provinces.

Following two months of declines, Ontario's employment level was up 14,000 in August, as large full-time gains were partially offset by part-time losses. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.3 per cent in August. So far in 2008, employment in Ontario has increased by 0.8 per cent, all in part time. Increases in construction and several service industries were dampened by declines in information, culture and recreation, manufacturing, and trade over the year.

Across the country, employment increases were charted in educational services, construction, utilities, and accommodation, and food services. These gains were partially offset by decreases in health care and social assistance, agriculture, and public administration.

There was a slight increase in manufacturing employment in August. So far this year, this industry has declined by 14,000 (-0.7 per cent), a smaller decrease compared with the same period in 2007 (-76,000 or -3.6 per cent).

August's employment gains were mostly among private sector employees (+41,000), while there were fewer employees in the public sector (-24,000). Since the beginning of 2008, employment growth has been primarily among employees in the private sector, in contrast to strength in the public sector and in self-employment over the same period of 2007.

Most of the employment increases in August were among men and women aged 25 to 54 years, countered by declines among older women. In the first eight months of 2008, employment growth was stronger for older workers than core-aged workers and youth.

Employment in construction was up by 19,000 in August, continuing the strength seen over the past few years. August's gains bring employment in this industry up 86,000 (+7.4 per cent) over the first eight months of 2008, making it the fastest growing industry. Most of the increases have been in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. According to the most recent Building Permits Survey, the value of building permits has increased in 2008, with all of the growth in non-residential construction.

Click on The Daily for a fuller discussion of the survey.