Eye on Employment: October 2019

Posted in News, Eye on Employment

Eye on Employment: October 2019

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. 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 August 2018 September 2018 2018 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019
Labour force 221,600 220,800 215,800 210,600 214,100 215,500
Employment 205,400 205,100 201,700 199,200 202,000 203,100
Full-time employment 157,000 158,000 153,100 155,800 158,900 158,300
Part-time employment 48,400 47,100 48,600 43,400 43,100 44,900
Unemployment 16,200 15,700 14,200 11,400 12,100 12,300
Unemployment rate 7.3% 7.1% 6.6% 5.4% 5.7% 5.7%
Participation rate 62.8% 62.5% 61.2% 59.0% 59.9% 60.2%
Employment rate 58.2% 58.1% 57.2% 55.8% 56.5% 56.7%

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, Table: 14-10-0095-01 (formerly CANSIM 282-0128)


Month-over-month, we can see 1,400 more people either working or looking for work (an increase in the labour force) between August 2019 and September 2019. There were 600 fewer people in full-time employment, and 1,800 more people in part-time employment. Compared to this time last year, September 2019 reports 2,000 fewer people reporting employment than was observed in September 2018. This change is attributed to decreases in part-time employment. Specifically, September 2019 saw 2,200 fewer people employed part-time compared to September 2018. September 2019 saw 300 more people employed in a full-time capacity compared to September 2018.

Niagara’s unemployment rate remained stable at 5.7% in both August and September 2019. This occurred alongside month-over-month increases in the employment rate (from 56.5% to 56.7%) and participation rate (from 59.9% to 60.2%). This trends reflects positive labour force trends where the “ideal” scenario is to see a falling – or stable – unemployment rate alongside increases in the participation and employment rates.

It is 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 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

Labour Force Characteristics August 2018 September 2018 2018 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019
Labour force 216,700 216,700 215,800 207,000 209,200 211,800
Employment 200,500 200,500 201,700 195,300 197,100 199,300
Unemployment 16,200 16,200 14,200 11,700 12,100 12,500
Unemployment rate 7.5% 7.5% 6.6% 5.7% 5.8% 5.9%
Participation rate 61.4% 61.4% 61.2% 58.0% 58.5% 59.1%
Employment rate 56.8% 56.8% 57.2% 54.7% 55.1% 55.7%

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, Table: 14-10-0294-01 (formerly CANSIM 282-0135)


Table 2 shows that there were 2,200 more people employed in Niagara between August 2019 and September 2019, which is similar in trend though larger in scope to the unadjusted pattern, which saw an increase of 1,100 people employed. The seasonally adjusted data show that changes in the participation rate (59.1% in September compared to 58.5% in August) and employment rate (55.7% in September compared to 55.1% in August) are similar to the unadjusted data, with both indicators rising slightly month over month. In contrast to the unadjusted data, the adjusted data show an increase in the unemployment rate (5.9% in September compared to 5.8% in August) rather than remaining stable between August and September.

As the trends are similar, despite the adjusted employment change being larger than the unadjusted, 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, even when we adjust for seasonal strengths, we are still seeing increases in employment and labour force participation. Therefore, the gains we are seeing are not just seasonal effects, but actual, overall increases.


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 August 2018 September 2018 2018 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019
Labour force 40,100 37,600 34,300 36,200 37,500 35,800
Employment 34,500 32,600 29,900 31,900 33,700 31,700
Full-time employment 20,000 20,400 15,400 15,700 19,300 18,400
Part-time employment 14,400 12,200 14,500 16,200 14,400 13,300
Unemployment 5,600 5,000 4,400 4,300 3,900 4,100
Unemployment rate 14.0% 13.3% 12.8% 11.9% 10.4% 11.5%
Participation rate 78.2% 74.0% 68.7% 74.6% 75.8% 71.6%
Employment rate 67.3% 64.2% 59.9% 65.8% 68.1% 63.4%

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, Table: 14-10-0095-01 (formerly CANSIM 282-0128)


Here we see 2,000 fewer youth working in September 2019 compared to August 2019. There were 900 fewer youth working in a full-time capacity, and the number of youth working in a part-time capacity decreased by 1,100. September saw the youth unemployment rate increase from 10.4% in August to 11.5%, while the participation rate decreased from 75.8% to 71.6%. Similarly, the employment rate decreased from 68.1% in August to 63.4% in September. Compared to this time last year, September 2019 reports 2,000 fewer youth employed in a full-time capacity and 1,100 more youth working in a part-time capacity.

These data should not be seen as surprising. In September, we would expect the youth labour force to be less engaged in labour force activities given that many youth have returned to school.


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, Vivian Kinnaird.