The Canadian economy lost 11,000 jobs in August, disappointing most economists who had been expecting to see modest gains in employment.

These job losses were largely in part-time positions, and not significant enough to effect the overall national unemployment rate which remained at 7%, roughly where it has been since 2012. This according to the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada just released this morning.

Part-time nation?

The report said that employment has increased by 81,000 jobs in Canada over the past year and that most of these were part-time positions. Seeing so little of the growth being in full-time work over the past year could give the impression that more and more Canadians are being pushed into part-time jobs.

However a look at the longer term trend shows that this isn’t the case. The percentage of the working population employed in part-time positions has actually held constant for the past few years. Since 2012, Canada’s workforce has been 19% part time and 81% full time.

In a recent report by TD Economics, nearly half of part-time workers said that they preferred fewer hours, either because they attend school or for other lifestyle priorities. Further highlights of that study included the fact that 70% of part-time jobs are held by women, and Canadians aged 65 and older now represent about 8% of part-time workers. These are two groups whose overall participation in the workforce has been steadily increasing.

Looking ahead

Despite a slight setback in employment for August, Workopolis is still expecting to see the same slow and steady increases in employment that we have been noting through much of the year continue into the fall. Online job postings were up in every region of the country again in August, although those increases were slightly smaller than in previous months. Paid online advertisements for job openings increased by 19% last month over August of 2013.

Processing, Manufacturing, Utilities, Natural Resources & Agriculture is the sector that is up the most nationally 69% year-over-year – largely driven by Ontario. [View jobs]

Sales & Service is also showing increases nationally (51% year-over-year), with the greatest gains in Quebec and the West. [View jobs]

Peter Harris

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