Labour Market Holds Steady in October

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Ottawa, November 8th, 2019—The Conference Board of Canada’s Economist Cory Renner offers the following insights on today's Labour Force Survey (LFS):

While October’s top-line job number was unimpressive, Canada’s labour market remains in good shape. The unemployment rate is near record lows, job growth through the year has been impressive and wage growth continues to firm. This means many households are enjoying solid income growth, which will support consumer spending during the upcoming Christmas season

Insights

  • Employment declined by 1,800 in October. The number of full-time jobs fell by 16,100 last month while part-time employment increased by 14,300.
  • The labour force rose by a modest 7,600. This is well below the average monthly increase of 28,670 since January 2018. Given labour participation rates are high compared to recent norms, we are likely to continue to see slower labour force growth going forward.
  • With only modest changes in both the labour force and employment, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 per cent.
  • Job growth was notably strong in British Columbia (+15,300) and Alberta (+7,700). Job growth was weakest in Ontario (-16,200) and Quebec (-9,500).
  • It was encouraging to see continued job growth in Alberta. The province had weak gains early in the year but has now put together two solid months of job creation. This has pushed the province’s unemployment rate down from 7.2 per cent in August to 6.7 per cent on October.
  • Average hourly wages rose by 4.3 per cent year-over-year in October, matching September’s pace and solidifying the recent trend towards stronger wage gains.
  • Wage growth was strong for both goods industries (+5.2 per cent year-over-over) and services industries (+4.1 per cent year-over-year).
  • Low unemployment continues to boost wage growth well above inflation. While jobs declined slightly this month, the labour market remains very tight. We expect this tight labour market will support income growth and household spending gains going forward.

Cory Renner

Economist

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