Eye on Employment: November 2019

Posted in News, Eye on Employment

Eye on Employment: November 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 September 2018 October 2018 2018 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019
Labour force 220,800 219,100 215,800 214,100 215,500 215,000
Employment 205,100 204,700 201,700 202,000 203,100 204,300
Full-time employment 158,000 158,300 153,100 158,900 158,300 158,500
Part-time employment 47,100 46,500 48,600 43,100 44,900 45,800
Unemployment 15,700 14,300 14,200 12,100 12,300 10,700
Unemployment rate 7.1% 6.5% 6.6% 5.7% 5.7% 5.0%
Participation rate 62.5% 62.0% 61.2% 59.9% 60.2% 60.0%
Employment rate 58.1% 57.9% 57.2% 56.5% 56.7% 57.0%

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


Month-over-month, we can see 500 fewer people either working or looking for work (a decrease in the labour force) between September 2019 and October 2019. There were 200 more people in full-time employment, and 900 more people in part-time employment. Compared to this time last year, October 2019 reports 400 fewer people reporting employment than was observed in October 2018. This change is attributed to decreases in part-time employment. Specifically, October 2019 saw 700 fewer people employed part-time compared to October 2018. October 2019 saw 200 more people employed in a full-time capacity compared to October 2018.

Niagara’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.7% in September to 5.0% in October 2019. This occurred alongside month-over-month increases in the employment rate (from 56.7% to 57.0%) and a slight decrease in the participation rate (from 60.2% to 60.0%). This trends reflects fairly positive labour force trends. The “ideal” scenario is to see a falling – or stable – unemployment rate alongside increases in the participation and employment rates. Niagara’s declining unemployment rate can be understood as the result of slight employment growth and a fairly consistent labour force size.

It is important to keep in mind that the data in Table 1 are seasonally unadjusted figures. That means factors like youth returning to school, holidays, 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 September 2018 October 2018 2018 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019
Labour force 216,700 215,800 215,800 209,200 211,800 213,100
Employment 200,500 200,100 201,700 197,100 199,300 201,300
Unemployment 16,200 15,700 14,200 12,100 12,500 11,800
Unemployment rate 7.5% 7.3% 6.6% 5.8% 5.9% 5.5%
Participation rate 61.4% 61.0% 61.2% 58.5% 59.1% 59.4%
Employment rate 56.8% 56.6% 57.2% 55.1% 55.7% 56.1%

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


Table 2 shows that there were 2,000 more people employed in Niagara between September 2019 and October 2019, which is similar in trend though larger in scope to the unadjusted pattern, which saw an increase of 1,200 people employed. The seasonally adjusted data show that changes in the unemployment rate (5.9% in September compared to 5.5% in October) and employment rate (55.7% in September compared to 56.1% in October) are similar to the unadjusted data, with unemployment decreasing and employment increasing. In contrast to the unadjusted data, the adjusted data show an increase in the participation rate (59.4% in October compared to 59.1% in September) rather than the decrease seen in the unadjusted data.

As the trends are similar, 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, when we adjust for seasonal effects, we still see increases in employment and decreases in unemployment, but we see an increase in labour force participation. This can be attributed to the unadjusted statistics showing an increase in labour force size, compared to a consistent labour force size in the unadjusted data.


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 September 2018 October 2018 2018 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019
Labour force 37,600 34,900 34,300 37,500 35,800 33,000
Employment 32,600 30,800 29,900 33,700 31,700 28,900
Full-time employment 20,400 18,700 15,400 19,300 18,400 15,500
Part-time employment 12,200 12,200 14,500 14,400 13,300 13,400
Unemployment 5,000 4,100 4,400 3,900 4,100 4,000
Unemployment rate 13.3% 11.7% 12.8% 10.4% 11.5% 12.1%
Participation rate 74.0% 68.2% 68.7% 75.8% 71.6% 67.1%
Employment rate 64.2% 60.2% 59.9% 68.1% 63.4% 58.7%

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


Here we see 2,800 fewer youth working in October 2019 compared to September 2019. There were 2,900 fewer youth working in a full-time capacity, and the number of youth working in a part-time capacity increased by 100. October saw the youth unemployment rate increase from 11.5% in September to 12.1%, while the participation rate decreased from 71.6% to 67.1%. Similarly, the employment rate decreased from 63.4% in September to 58.7% in October. Compared to this time last year, October 2019 reports 3,200 fewer youth employed in a full-time capacity and 1,200 more youth working in a part-time capacity. As the school year continues, 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.