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Employment Stalls, Wage Growth Accelerates in April

May 11, 2018

The Conference Board of Canada’s Economist Cory Renner offers the following insights on the Statistics Canada employment numbers for April:


“Employment was flat in April. However, the real news from this report is the continued acceleration of wages as the labour market continues to show signs of tightening. The labour participation rate continued its recent decline as baby boomers exited the workplace. Despite the pause in employment growth, a tight labour market should keep the Bank of Canada on pace for a rate hike this summer.”
—Cory Renner, Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • Employment fell slightly in April, as gains in full-time jobs (+28,800) were countered by losses in part-time positions (-30,000).
  • The unemployment rate remained at 5.8 per cent, as the labour force participation rate continued its downward trajectory.
  • Employment changes were moderate in most provinces, though Ontario (+9,300) and Manitoba (+4,100) saw the largest gains, while Quebec (-11,000) and Saskatchewan (-4,900) saw the largest declines.
  • By industry, employment was strong in professional, scientific and technical services (+21,000) and accommodation and food services (+17,000). Weakness was felt in wholesale and retail trade (-22,000) and construction (-19,000).
  • Average hourly wages for all employees rose by 3.6 per cent year-over-year in April. This compares to a 3.3 per cent rise in March, as wage growth continues to accelerate. The 3.6 per cent year-over-year gain is the strongest since August of 2012.
  • Year-over-year wage growth in services (up 3.8 per cent) out-paced goods (up 2.6 per cent). Wages amongst service industries were supported by strong gains in finance and transportation services, while wages in goods industries were dragged down by weakness in construction and utilities.
  • Provincially, year-over-year wage growth was boosted by Ontario (up 4.3 per cent) and British Columbia (up 5.6 per cent).Wages were weakest in Manitoba (up 0.4 per cent), Alberta (up 2.6 per cent) and Quebec (up 2.7 per cent).

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