State of the labour Market

September Labour Force Survey: Jobs and Wages Rise

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Canada posted another solid overall increase in employment in September.

Gains were driven by the more volatile self-employment and public sectors, while the number of private sector employees fell-back after a spike in August. The increase was large enough to bump up the working-age employment rate 0.2 percentage points to 74.7%, edging out May as the highest rate on record.

Wage growth was a bit of a positive surprise in today’s numbers. Hourly earnings growth rose at perhaps exaggerated rates earlier this summer, but looked to be easing last month. However the pace re-accelerated in September to 4.3% from a year earlier. Should other wage metrics follow, it could be a signal that Canadian incomes are ready to show progress in step with the quantity of jobs. 

Big picture, what we want to see is the labour market add jobs faster than the rate of population growth. This month’s record working-age employment rate suggests it’s doing just that. Progress is now also translating into improvement in previously lagging aspects of the labour market, like declining lengths of unemployment.

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