Eye on Employment: December 2018 Edition

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Eye on Employment: December 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 foreword 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 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 2017 Sept 2018 Oct 2018 Nov 2018
Labour force 211,900 209,900 211,400 220,800 219,100 215,700
Employment 198,900 197,400 197,600 205,100 204,700 202,600
Full-time employment 156,700 153,500 153,300 158,000 158,300 156,000
Part-time employment 42,200 43,900 44,400 47,100 46,500 46,600
Unemployment 13,000 12,500 13,800 15,700 14,300 13,100
Unemployment rate 6.1% 6.0% 6.5% 7.1% 6.5% 6.1%
Participation rate 60.7% 60.1% 60.7% 62.5% 62.0% 60.9%
Employment rate 57.0% 56.5% 56.8% 58.1% 57.9% 57.2%

Month-over-month, we can see 3,400 fewer people either working or looking for work (a decrease in the labour force) between October and November 2018. There were 2,300 fewer people in full-time employment in November 2018 compared to October 2018, with an increase of 100 individuals working in a part-time capacity. Compared to this time last year, November 2018 reports 5,200 more people with employment than were observed in November 2017. This increase is almost evenly split between annual increases in full-time and part-time employment.  Specifically, November 2018 saw 2.500 more people employed in a full-time capacity than were observed in November 2017. With respect to part-time employment, there were 2,700 more people employed in a part-time capacity in November 2018 than in November 2017.

Niagara’s unemployment rate decreased from 6.5% in October to 6.1% in November. This decrease occurred alongside the month-over-month employment rate decreasing from 57.9% to 57.2%. Niagara’s labour market participation rate fell from 62.0% to 60.9%. 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. The decreases in November’s total number of unemployed people might suggest voluntary exits from employment.

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 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 2017 Sept 2018 Oct 2018 Nov 2018
Labour force 209,300 208,900 211,400 217,100 216,000 214,600
Employment 194,700 194,300 197,600 200,900 200,300 199,500
Unemployment 14,600 14,700 13,800 16,200 15,700 15,100
Unemployment rate 7.0% 7.0% 6.5% 7.5% 7.3% 7.0%
Participation rate 60.0% 59.8% 60.7% 61.5% 61.1% 60.6%
Employment rate 55.8% 55.6% 56.8% 56.9% 56.6% 56.4%

Here, the month-over-month comparisons show similar trends compared to the unadjusted figures. Table 2 shows that there were 1,400 fewer people employed in Niagara between October and November. The unemployment rate decreased from 7.3% to 7.0% in November, and the employment rate decreased from 56.6% to 56.4%. The participation rate also fell from 61.1% to 60.6% between October and November.0

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, we can observe that total employment is lower when adjusting for seasonality compared to the unadjusted figure seen in Table 1. These data would then suggest that when compensating for predictable and seasonable factors, we would see higher unemployment rates and less overall employment. The unadjusted data, however, is showing lower unemployment rates and more people working. One can then infer from these data that there is a non-seasonal strength to the local employment patterns, despite the trends observed over the last three months.

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 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 2017 Sept 2018 Oct 2018 Nov 2018
Labour force 31,500 29,600 31,100 37,600 34,900 34,100
Employment 29,600 27,500 28,100 32,600 30,800 30,300
Full-time employment 16,500 14,000 13,200 20,400 18,700 17,600
Part-time employment 13,200 13,500 14,900 12,200 12,200 12,800
Unemployment 1,800 2,100 3,000 5,000 4,100 3,800
Unemployment rate 5.7% 7.1% 9.6% 13.3% 11.7% 11.1%
Participation rate 71.9% 69.6% 69.3% 74.0% 68.2% 63.4%
Employment rate 67.6% 64.7% 62.6% 64.2% 60.2% 56.3%

Here we see 500 fewer youth working in November compared to October. There were 1,100 fewer youth working in a full-time capacity, and the number of youth working in a part-time capacity increased by 600. November saw the youth unemployment rate decrease from 11.7% to 11.1%, and the participation rate fell from 68.2% to 63.4%. Similarly, the employment rate fell from 60.2% to 56.3%. Despite seeing a month-over-month decrease in the number of unemployed youth in November, these data, particularly when compared to November 2017’s labour market engagement, suggest a large number of youth are 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.