Statistics Canada has just released the Labour Force Survey for February, and the national unemployment rate has held steady at 7.0% for the second month in a row. The Canadian economy has added roughly 95,000 over the past 12 months.


Quebec shed 26,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate up to 7.8%. British Columbia also took a hit, losing 10,000 jobs which left that province’s unemployment rate at 6.4%.

Alberta continues to be the strongest province in Canada for job creation, adding 19,000 jobs month. By contrast Ontario with its much larger population added only 6,000 jobs in February.

Year-over-year Alberta has added 82,000 jobs – which represents most of the country’s overall job growth.

There was little change in the Saskatchewan job market: it continues to be red hot. The unemployment rate in that province inched back down to 3.9% in February, remaining the lowest of all the provinces.

Nova Scotia also saw gains last month adding nearly 3,000 positions.

Industry trends

The Labour Force Survey indicated that in February, there were fewer people working in health care and social assistance as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. However both of these industries are still trending upwards year over year. We took a look at online job postings to see which positions were most being recruited for in those industries.

Top jobs in Finance posted over the past 12 months:

    1. Customer Service Representatives – Financial Services
    2. Financial Auditors and Accountants
    3. Accounting and Related Clerks
    4. Financial and Investment Analysts
    5. Payroll Clerks

And also trending upwards are Loan Officers (e.g. Credit Officers, Loan Officers, Mortgage Officers, etc.) and Other Financial Officers (e.g. Financial Planner, Financial Underwriter, Mortgage Broker, etc.)

Top Healthcare jobs posted over the past 12 months:

    1. Registered Nurses
    2. Pharmacists
    3. Dental Assistants
    4. Licensed Practical Nurses
    5. Head Nurses and Supervisors

Also trending upward over the past year are postings for Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates, General Practitioners and Family Physicians, Medical Radiation Technologists, and Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists and Cardiopulmonary Technologists.

This seems to indicate that there is increased demand for non-MD Health professionals in hospitals (nurses, technicians, and administrators), as well as for professionals involved in everyday healthcare needs (family doctors, dentistry, pharmacists.)

Based on online job advertisements, the Hospitality field is another key sector for increased hiring over the past year.

Top Hospitality jobs posted over past 12 months:

    1. Chefs
    2. Airline Sales and Service Agents
    3. Cooks
    4. Food and Beverage Servers
    5. Hotel Front Desk Clerks

Other hospitality occupations that have been trending upward over the past year include:

    1. Airline Sales and Service Agents (e.g. airline baggage agents, counter service agents, passenger agents, etc.)
    2. Cooks
    3. Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations (e.g. bus boy/girl, cook’s helper, fast food preparer, etc.)
    4. Food Service Supervisors
    5. Maîtres d’hôtel and Hosts/Hostesses
    6. Ticket Agents (e.g. bus ticket agents, railway passenger agents, reservations clerks, etc.)

It seems like more people are traveling and eating out (although this seems to be more in the fast food field than high end cuisine.)

Youth unemployment

Employment for younger workers continued to be nearly double the national average in February at 13.6%. There were 36,000 fewer people in this demographic working last month than there were a year earlier. With that in mind, the Workopolis team decided to take a look at the top jobs that are advertised for the student and entry-level job category right now. Hopefully knowing what employers are looking for and where the opportunities are can help people looking for that first opportunity to get a foot in the door.

  • The top twenty entry-level jobs that are hiring right now (and what they pay)
  • Looking ahead

    The key economic indicators that we watch closely are all showing positive signs. Workopolis expects to see increased employment throughout the month of March and into the spring.


    Peter Harris
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