March 11, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—February 2024 Labour Force Survey

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about the February 2024 Labour Force Survey.

It was another month of a cooling labour market. The Canadian economy added a mere 41k jobs in Feb (+0.2%), once again less than the rate needed to keep pace with population growth. As a result, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 5.7 to 5.8%. As the Bank of Canada looks for further evidence that the labour market is coming into balance, this could be it.

Alberta once again saw the strongest employment growth of any province with an increase of 17.4k (+0.7%), largely a reflection of higher population growth. Even so, job creation in Alberta last month was far outpaced by the number of new working-age people coming to the province.

In Alberta, unemployment remains in line with the previous month but slightly above the national average at 6.2%.

At the same time, the province’s job vacancy rate likewise remains higher than the national average. This suggests there is a greater mismatch in Alberta between the people looking for jobs and the types of jobs available.

As for the industries driving growth, it was a big month for construction which added 12k jobs, reversing the losses of the previous month. Trade and professional services (which have previously been in decline) jobs also made strong gains. Meanwhile, industries most closely tied to the public sector have seen jobs growth level in recent months.

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