While the overall national unemployment rate remains steady at 6.8%, May was actually a very good month for jobs in Canada. Most economists, including the team at Workopolis, had been expecting to see slow gains in employment last month with roughly 10,000 new jobs being added.

However, this morning’s Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada showed much more robust gains in employment as the country added 59,000 new jobs in May. The majority of these were full-time, private sector positions. (Full-time employment rose by 30,900 last month, and part-time positions were up by 27,900.) The Canadian economy has added an average of 20,500 monthly so far this year.

Here are five key takeaways from the May employment report

1. Ontario was a big winner in May, gaining 44,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate in Canada’s largest province now sits at 6.5% which is the first time it has been below the national average since the recession.

2. The effects of low oil prices and slowdowns in the energy sector are starting to take their toll on oil producing provinces.

  • Alberta’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.8%, which is the highest it has been since April of 2011.
  • Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate jumped to 4.9% from 4.3%. However, Saskatchewan remains the province with the lowest unemployment in Canada. [See what it is like to live and work in Saskatchewan.]
  • Newfoundland and Labrador lost 4,300 jobs in May, bringing that province’s unemployment rate up to 13.8%. Employment in Newfoundland has been trending downwards since November of last year.

3. Sectors creating the most jobs

    Manufacturing employment increased for a second consecutive month, up 22,000 in May.
    [View manufacturing jobs]

    The healthcare sector also saw solid gains in employment last month, with 21,000 more jobs. Over the past year, this fields has seen gains of roughly 75,000 more jobs, one of the strongest growth rates of all industries. [View healthcare jobs]

    There were 17,000 more people employed in retail and wholesale trade in May. [View retail jobs]

4. The private sector added 70,700 jobs in May, while employment in the public sector was down by 12,000 positions.

5. The youth unemployment rate fell to 13.2%, down from 13.6% a month earlier. The
Canadian economy added 11,900 new jobs for young workers last month. [View Student/Entry-Level jobs on Workopolis.]

While online job postings have been up considerably month-over month for much of the past year, we saw these gains in job openings being advertised online slow down in May. While still in the positive territory, the increases were the smallest we’ve seen in over a year.

Indicating that the sector trends from the latest Labour Force Survey are likely to hold steady over the coming months, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, and the Skilled Trades all saw the greatest increase in job ads last month.

What’s hot and hiring right now? High-paying jobs that are in demand in Canada (with and without a university degree).

See how much the jobs with the highest demand in Canada actually pay.


Peter Harris
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