Eye on Employment: January 2020

Posted in News, Eye on Employment

Eye on Employment: January 2020

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 November 2018 December 2018 2018 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019
Labour force 215,700 215,400 215,800 215,000 215,800 217,000
Employment 202,600 201,800 201,700 204,300 205,200 206,800
Full-time employment 156,000 155,400 153,100 158,500 158,200 158,800
Part-time employment 46,600 46,400 48,600 45,800 47,000 48,000
Unemployment 13,100 13,600 14,200 10,700 10,600 10,300
Unemployment rate 6.1% 6.3% 6.6% 5.0% 4.9% 4.7%
Participation rate 60.9% 60.8% 61.2% 60.0% 60.1% 60.4%
Employment rate 57.2% 57.0% 57.2% 57.0% 57.2% 57.5%

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

Month-over-month, we can see 1,200 more people either working or looking for work (an increase in the labour force) between November 2019 and December 2019. There were 600 more people in full-time employment, and 1,000 more people in part-time employment. Compared to this time last year, December 2019 reports 5,000 more people reporting employment than was observed in December 2018. This change is attributed to increases in both part- and full-time employment. Specifically, December 2019 saw 1,600 more people employed part-time compared to December 2018. December 2019 saw 3,400 more people employed in a full-time capacity compared to December 2018.

Niagara’s unemployment rate decreased from 4.9% in November to 4.7% in December 2019. This occurred alongside month-over-month increases in the employment rate (from 57.2% to 57.5%) and the participation rate (from 60.1% to 60.4%). This trends reflects “ideal” labour force trends; therein, the “ideal” scenario is to see a falling – or stable – unemployment rate alongside increases in the participation and employment rates.

It is important to keep in mind that the data in Table 1 are seasonally unadjusted figures. That means factors such as 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

Seasonal Labour Force Characteristics November 2018 December 2018 2018 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019
Labour force 214,400 214,100 215,800 213,100 215,600 216,500
Employment 199,300 199,200 201,700 201,300 204,000 206,000
Unemployment 15,100 14,900 14,200 11,800 11,600 10,600
Unemployment rate 7.0% 7.0% 6.6% 5.5% 5.4% 4.9%
Participation rate 60.6% 60.4% 61.2% 59.4% 60.1% 60.2%
Employment rate 56.3% 56.2% 57.2% 56.1% 56.8% 57.3%

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 November 2019 and December 2019, which is similar in trend, though slightly larger in scope to the unadjusted pattern, which saw an increase of 1,600 people employed. The seasonally adjusted data show that changes in the unemployment rate (5.4% in November compared to 4.9% in December), participation rate (60.1% in November compared to 60.2% in December and employment rate (56.8% in November compared to 57.3% in December) are similar to the unadjusted data, with unemployment decreasing and participation and employment increasing.

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 participation, and a decreases in unemployment. This means that, even after controlling for expected seasonal factors, these positive trends still hold.


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 November 2018 December 2018 2018 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019
Labour force 34,100 36,000 34,300 33,000 32,200 31,600
Employment 30,300 31,800 29,900 28,900 26,800 26,600
Full-time employment 17,600 18,200 15,400 15,500 12,600 12,300
Part-time employment 12,800 13,600 14,500 13,400 14,300 14,300
Unemployment 3,800 4,200 4,400 4,000 5,400 5,000
Unemployment rate 11.1% 11.7% 12.8% 12.1% 16.8% 15.8%
Participation rate 63.4% 64.7% 68.7% 67.1% 65.3% 67.5%
Employment rate 56.3% 57.2% 59.9% 58.7% 54.4% 56.8%

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


Here Statistics Canada reports 200 fewer youth working in December 2019 compared to November 2019. There were 300 fewer youth working in a full-time capacity, and the number of youth working in a part-time capacity did not change. Readers should note this seemingly anomalous math is owing to rounding decisions made by Statistics Canada.

December saw the youth unemployment rate decrease from 16.8% in November to 15.8%, while the participation rate increased from 65.3% to 67.5%. Similarly, the employment rate increased from 54.4% in November to 56.8% in December. Compared to this time last year, December 2019 reports 5,900 fewer youth employed in a full-time capacity and 700 more youth working in a part-time capacity.


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.