August Employment Figures in Line with Expectations

Statistics Canada has just released the results of its labour market survey for the month of August. The report did not contain any surprises and in line with expectations of various job market players and with hiring demand reports provided by Vicinity Jobs (including  our  forecasts discussed in our blog in recent months).

The job market recovery   is continuing, although it remains slower than most people would like. The economy added 36,000 jobs in August, bringing the total number of Canadian jobs to the pre-recession levels from 2008.

With that said, however, it is important to note that since the recovery began, growth in part-time employment has been stronger (+4.1%) than full-time employment growth (+2.2%). August’s numbers went against this trend, with most of the jobs created being full-time. This is welcome news, and may signal that the economy is strengthening (however, it needs to be sustained over at least a few more months before we can say this with certainty).

Another trend that Vicinity Jobs predicted early in the recession and which we have been following closely is the structural adjustment of the job market, involving the replacement of goods sector jobs with jobs in the service sector. This trend strengthened in August: Service industries accounted for all of August’s gains, while the manufacturing industry lost 26,000 jobs.

Ontario and British Columbia did not account for a significant portion of August’s job creation: Both provinces added jobs, although at a slow pace (Ontario added 24,000 jobs, and BC 5,000). The unemployment rate actually increased in Ontario (from 8.5% to 8.8%) but this is because more people started looking for work. In British Columbia, unemployment edged down 0.2 percentage points and stands at 7.3% now, as the size of the province’s labour force remained largely unchanged.

The Vicinity Jobs hiring demand statistics continue to be largely in line with the findings of Statistics Canada. We continue to see employers in the retail, professional/technical/scientific services, and healthcare industries lead hiring activities. It is somewhat refreshing to see that hiring demand in Ontario is no longer dominated by job openings for Management positions as was the case during most of the slowdown. Now the most jobs advertised are in the Administrative and Retail/Services occupational categories. And, hiring demand levels in August continued to be among the best we have recorded since hiring stalled almost 2 years ago.

Overall, the job market recovery is continuing, although at a slow pace. We are seeing relatively high hiring demand levels sustained over longer periods of time. This makes us more confident that the recovery is stabilizing. Statistics Canada’s report did point out that employment growth has slowed down since the early months of this year. But this too is in line with our expectations, and we do not expect it to signal the end of the recovery trend. However, it does signal that the job market may take a while to fully recover and catch up with the increase in the size of Canada’s labour force that occurred since the recession began almost 2 years ago.

The full Statistics Canada report can be found here: found here: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100910/dq100910a-eng.htm