Labour Force Survey January 2009

Employment fell by 129,000 in January (-0.8%), almost all in full time, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 7.2%. This drop in employment exceeds any monthly decline during the previous economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s.

The loss in January follows other declines in recent months. Since October, employment has fallen by 213,000 (-1.2%), the result of full-time losses.

In January, the drop in employment was most pronounced in manufacturing, where the net loss totalled 101,000. There were declines in a number of other industries as well. The only industry with notable gains was health care and social assistance, where employment increased by 31,000.

Canada’s three largest provinces accounted for the entire employment decrease in January. While just over half of employment losses were in Ontario (-71,000), there were also large declines in both British Columbia (-35,000) and Quebec (-26,000). Employment was little changed in all other provinces.

Employment fell mostly among core-age adults, 25 to 54 years, as well as among youths aged 15 to 24.

Both the public and private sectors experienced employment losses in January. While employment fell by 1.2% in the public sector, the private sector declined by 0.9%.

Compared with a year earlier, average hourly wages of employees was up 4.8% in January. The most recent increase in the Consumer Price Index was 1.2%.

Manufacturing employment falls sharply in January
Employment fell by 101,000 in the manufacturing sector in January. This was the largest monthly decline in the industry on record.

Continued losses in Ontario
Ontario’s employment drop of 71,000 in January was its largest in over three decades.

Bulk of employment losses among 25 to 54 year olds
Employment fell by 111,000 among the core age group (adults aged 25 to 54), with men accounting for nearly two-thirds of the decline. The unemployment rate for core-age adults jumped 0.8 percentage points to 6.2%, their highest rate since November 2004.

You can find more details, charts and tables at:

For further information or to schedule interviews with a Statistics Canada Analyst regarding this release please contact: Jey Dharmaraj, at: (416) 954-5976 or [email protected]

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