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Canadian Labour Market Statistics for May 2023

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Canadian Labour Market Statistics

In a shifting employment landscape, Statistics Canada reports that overall employment in May 2023 saw little change. However, beneath the surface, disparities were observed, indicating the ongoing impact of external factors and indicating emerging trends within the Canadian labour market.

IndicatorValueChange from previous monthDate
Employment20,113,000-0.1% decreaseMay 2023
Unemployment Rate5.2%0.2 pts increaseMay 2023

Snapshot of Overall Employment Statistics

In May 2023, total employment in Canada saw a slight decrease of 0.1%, bringing the total employment figure to 20,113,000. This represents a marginal slowdown in the recovery of the job market after the impacts of the pandemic. This decrease underlines some of the fluctuations seen within different sectors, provinces, and age groups discussed earlier.

Snapshot of Unemployment Rate

As of May 2023, Canada’s unemployment rate slightly increased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.2%. This implies that a marginally higher proportion of the labour force was without work and actively seeking employment compared to the previous month.

Examining the Age-Based Employment Shifts

The number of employed youth (aged 15 to 24) declined by 77,000 (-2.8%), contributing to the modest overall drop in employment, whereas people aged 25 to 54 witnessed an employment increase of 63,000 (+0.5%). These figures indicate a contrasting movement in the job market among different age groups. A contributing factor to this is seasonal work typically engaged by youths such as summer jobs which, data suggests, has started slower than usual in 2023.

For returning students, the employment rate for young women (aged 20 to 24) dropped from the record high of 69.5% in May 2022 to 63.8% in May 2023, lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 67.7% recorded in May 2019. The employment rate for young male returning students remained relatively stable. The delayed start to the summer job season and the implications for the employment rate in this demographic will be clearer in the data for June, July, and August.

Sector-Wise Employment Trends

The month of May 2023 saw a decline in employment in certain sectors including business, building, and other support services (-31,000; -4.4%) as well as professional, scientific and technical services (-13,000; -0.7%).

However, some sectors experienced a boost in employment. Manufacturing saw an increase of 13,000 (+0.7%) in jobs, alongside “other services” (+11,000; +1.5%) and utilities (+4,200; +2.7%). The rise in manufacturing jobs, concentrated in Ontario, reflects the growth in the goods-producing sector. These shifts indicate how different sectors are adapting to changing market demands and economic conditions.

Provincial Employment Patterns

A provincial breakdown of the data shows a decrease in employment for Ontario (-24,000; -0.3%), Nova Scotia (-5,200; -1.0%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-4,200; -1.8%) in May. Meanwhile, Manitoba experienced a job increase (+8,200; +1.2%).

The Unemployment Rate and Wages

For the first time since August 2022, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 5.2%, demonstrating a slight slowdown in the job market recovery. Wages, however, saw a rise on a year-over-year basis, with average hourly wages increasing 5.1% (+$1.61 to $33.25) in May.

Indigenous Employment

Data shows a decline in the employment rate of First Nations people living off reserve, aged 25 to 54, to 67.4% in May, a drop of 5.0 percentage points from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the employment rate among Métis of the same age group was 80.0% in May, down slightly from the previous year.

The Canadian labour market in May 2023 presents a complex picture. On the one hand, the general stability in employment numbers indicates a level of resilience. On the other hand, the shifting job trends among different age groups, sectors, and provinces, alongside the increase in unemployment rate, show the ongoing impact of economic and social factors.

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