November 6, 2023

Weekly EconMinute—October 2023 Labour Force Survey

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about the October 2023 Labour Force Survey.

Following surprising strength nationally and jaw-dropping weakness provincially in September, the Canadian labour market cooled in October (+18.0k jobs or +0.1%) while it bounced back in Alberta (+37.7k jobs or +1.5%).

In fact, October saw a near erasure of the jobs losses in September: there was an increase of 37.7k jobs this month following last month’s 37.8k decline. Given there is no obvious explanation, it is possible that the change instead reflects imperfections of Statistics Canada’s labour market information (which relies on survey data and techniques to “smooth out” seasonal variation).

The industries with the biggest losses in September were primarily responsible for October’s gains. Specifically, construction, finance, manufacturing, and retail trade all bounced back (to varying degrees) from the one month blip they saw in September.

Despite September’s hiccup of jobs losses, the Alberta labour market remains strong. Unemployment sits at just 5.8%: much lower than its recent past (7.2%), a huge decline versus the depths of the pandemic (12.0%), and in line with the national average (5.7%).

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