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Economy in Brief

Employment Gains in Canada, Too; Unemployment Rate Stays Flat
by Carol Stone November 5, 2004

Employment in Canada, measured by the Statistics Canada labor force survey, showed a second consecutive monthly advance in October, up 34,300 after September's 43,200 increase. The number of workers had been basically flat across the summer. The 12-month trend is running just below 2%, similar to the expansion during 2003 and 2002.

By industry, the October employment gain was more than accounted for by a 45,000 increase in the trade sector. The number of construction workers also increased and has been on a notable uptrend for about the last six years. Workers in the finance sector decreased in October, but they too have been on a sustained, marked uptrend; this began in early 2002. Manufacturing employment has maintained an oscillating pattern for about five years.

Canada's unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.1% in October, extending a gentle downward drift from a recent peak of 8.0% in August 2003.

Labor force participation in Canada has been largely rangebound over the last two years, with the rate for young people (ages 15-24) virtually flat at about 67%, and that for middle-range workers (ages 25-55) edging down slightly to 86.3% in October. However, older workers appear to be staying active longer. The participation rate for workers over 55 reached 30.8% in October, up 0.6 percentage point in the last 12 months and up 7.2 points since its low in October 1996.

Monthly Amounts in Thousands Oct
Sept 2004 Aug
Year Ago 2003 2002 2001
Employment 16,111 16,076 16,033 1.9% 2.2% 2.2% 1.1%
  Mo/Mo Change +34 +43 -7        
Goods-Producing 4,044 4,039 4,060 1.4% 1.1% 2.1% -0.2%
  Mo/Mo Change +5 -21 -7        
Service-Producing 12,067 12,037 11,973 2.0% 2.5% 2.3% 1.6%
  Mo/Mo Change +30 +64 -0        
Unemployment Rate 7.1% 7.1% 7.2% 7.6% 7.6% 7.6% 7.2%
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