State of the labour Market

January 2019 Labour Force Survey: No Letup in Job Growth as Youth Jump into the Labour Force


After a weak 2018 for jobs among Canadian youth, 2019 started on a stronger note.

The labour force participation rate among those under 25 jumped up, reversing a decline over the second half of last year. The weak situation for youth was one of the negative points of the 2018 labour market. While one month of data shouldn’t get us too excited, it’s good to see this year start off on the right track.

The strong month for youth, on the whole, didn’t extend to Alberta, where overall employment fell for a second straight month. Observers were surprised with Alberta’s sharp drop in unemployment in November, despite struggles in the oil sector. It looks like that momentum was temporary, and the province could face another challenging year.

Economic headlines in recent months haven’t been all positive, but so far the job market has proved resilient. Employers have been noting increasing hiring difficulties over the past year, but recent job growth suggests the labour market might not have reached its limits. With the current low unemployment rate, employment gains among groups with relatively high unemployment rates, like younger Canadians, are what we’ll need to maintain job growth.

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