Eye on Employment: November 2018 Edition

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Eye on Employment: November 2018 Edition

The Eye on Employment is NWPB’s monthly breakdown of the latest data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. In this document, we will provide you with a summary of changes in local labour market indicators, offer comparisons to historical benchmarks, and show how seasonality affects employment in Niagara.

First, a foreward on our source: Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey or LFS. The LFS is a robust tool that provides us with a considerable amount of data. At its core, however, it exists to sort Canadians into one of three groups: people who are employed, people who are not employed but are looking for work, and people who are not in the labour force. This is a people-focused survey, and the important thing to remember is that a count of people is not a count of jobs. People might do a job, either for an employer or through self-employment, but the LFS is counting the people, not the job. Bearing this in mind, let’s turn our eye toward employment.

Monthly and Yearly Overview

Table 1: Niagara – Current and Historical Trends – Seasonally Unadjusted

Labour force characteristics Sept 2017 Oct 2017 2017 Aug 2018 Sept 2018 Oct 2018
Labour force 214,500 211,900 211,400 221,600 220,800 219,100
Employment 202,200 198,900 197,600 205,400 205,100 204,700
Full-time employment 161,100 156,700 153,300 157,000 158,000 158,300
Part-time employment 41,100 42,200 44,400 48,400 47,100 46,500
Unemployment 12,300 13,000 13,800 16,200 15,700 14,300
Unemployment rate 5.7% 6.1% 6.5% 7.3% 7.1% 6.5%
Participation rate 61.5% 60.7% 60.7% 62.8% 62.5% 62.0%
Employment rate 58.0% 57.0% 56.8% 58.2% 58.1% 57.9%

Month-over-month, we can see 1,700 fewer people either working or looking for work (a decrease in the labour force) between September and October 2018. There were 300 more people in full-time employment in October 2018 compared to September 2018, with a decrease of 600 individuals working in a part-time capacity. Compared to this time last year, October 2018 reports 5,800 more people with employment than were observed in October 2017. However, this overall increase is largely driven by changes in part-time employment between October 2017 and October 2018. Specifically, October 2018 saw 4,300 more people employed in a part-time capacity than were observed in October 2017.

Niagara’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.1% in September to 6.5% in October. This decrease occurred alongside the month-over-month employment rate decreasing from 58.1% to 57.9%. Niagara’s labour market participation rate fell from 62.5% to 62.0%. In an ideal state of affairs, decreases in the unemployment rate would also be met with increases in the participation and employment rate. When all three indicators fall, it is generally an indication of people leaving the labour force.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the data in Table 1 are seasonally unadjusted figures. That means factors like holidays, expected employment slowdowns or pickups due to weather, and other factors that can be reasonably be predicted to influence employment are not accounted for in these data. Table 2 shows what the labour force looks like when we adjust for seasonality.

Table 2: Niagara – Current and Historical Trends – Seasonally Adjusted

Seasonal Labour Force Characteristics Sept 2017 Oct 2017 2017 Aug 2018 Sept 2018 Oct 2018
Labour force 211,000 209,300 211,400 217,100 217,100 216,000
Employment 197,200 194,700 197,600 201,000 200,900 200,300
Unemployment 13,800 14,600 13,800 16,100 16,200 15,700
Unemployment rate 6.5% 7.0% 6.5% 7.4% 7.5% 7.3%
Participation rate 60.5% 60.0% 60.7% 61.5% 61.5% 61.1%
Employment rate 56.6% 55.8% 56.8% 57.0% 56.9% 56.6%

Here, the month-over-month comparisons show similar trends compared to the unadjusted figures. Table 2 shows that there were 600 fewer people employed in Niagara between October and September 2018. The unemployment rate decreased from 7.5% in September to 7.3% in October 2018, and the employment rate decreased from 56.9% to 56.6%. The participation rate decreased from 61.5% to 61.1% between September and October.

Although both sets of data provide similar insights to the state of the labour force in Niagara, one might ask which of these figures is correct and/or should be used when reporting these statistics.

The answer is that both are equally valid. Both measures are essential tools to understanding labour force trends in Niagara. In this case, although the two figures show similar trends, seasonal factors in the economy appear to be leading to increased employment than what we see when adjusting for seasonality.

The Youth Lens

LFS data also allow us a snapshot of youth (defined as people age 15 to 24) employment in Niagara. Once again these data do not account for seasonality.

Table 3: Niagara – Current and Historical Trends – Youth Age 15 to 24 – Seasonally Unadjusted

Labour force characteristics Sept 2017 Oct 2017 2017 Aug 2018 Sept 2018 Oct 2018
Labour force 34,800 31,500 31,100 40,100 37,600 34,900
Employment 33,100 29,600 28,100 34,500 32,600 30,800
Full-time employment 18,900 16,500 13,200 20,000 20,400 18,700
Part-time employment 14,200 13,200 14,900 14,400 12,200 12,200
Unemployment 1,700 1,800 3,000 5,600 5,000 4,100
Unemployment rate 4.9% 5.7% 9.6% 14.0% 13.3% 11.7%
Participation rate 75.5% 71.9% 69.3% 78.2% 74.0% 68.2%
Employment rate 71.8% 67.6% 62.6% 67.3% 64.2% 60.2%

Here we see 1,800 fewer youth working in October compared to September. There were 1,700 fewer youth working in a full-time capacity, and the number of youth working in a part-time capacity did not change (note here that Statistics Canada rounds to the nearest hundred; this accounts for what might present as irregular math on the part of the total employment changes). October saw the youth unemployment rate decrease from 13.3% to 11.7%, and the participation rate fell from 74.0% to 68.2%. Similarly, the employment rate fell from 64.2% to 60.2%. Given a month-over-month decrease in the number of unemployed youth in October, it is likely we are still seeing the effects of youth returning to education and training in October. However, these data, particularly when compared to October 2017’s labour market engagement, still suggest a large number of youth remain engaged in looking for work.

We now offer the Eye on Employment in a downloadable PDF format. You can download the PDF by clicking this link.

Would you like to know more? NWPB is ready for your questions. Reach out to NWPB’s CEO, Mario De Divitiis.