Drops to 6.7% as number of people looking for work shrinks
According to figures released by Statistics Canada on Friday, Sudbury's jobless rate was 6.7 per cent in March, down 0.3 per cent compared to February. The size of the city's labour force – or the number of people who are looking for work -- stood at 89,200 two months ago, but dropped to 88,100 in March.
Other indicators from StatsCan also showed a minor slowdown in the local economic picture. For example, the value of building permits issued in January of this year declined by 10.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. By comparison, Thunder Bay saw an increase of 79.7 per cent in the same period, while Barrie enjoyed a 19 per cent increase.
Bigger declines were seen in London (down 38.8 per cent), Peterborough (28.4 per cent) and Hamilton (21.2 per cent).
In Ontario, the jobless rate was 7.3 per cent, down 0.2 per cent from February. Nationally, employment increased by 43,000 in March, driven by gains among youths. The unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.
“Overall employment growth in Canada has been subdued since August 2013,” StatsCan said in its monthly overview of jobs statistics. “Compared with March 2013, the number of people working rose by 190,000. Over this 12-month period, employment and the number of hours worked grew at the same pace, that is 1.1 per cent.”
Youth employment rose by 33,000 among people aged 15 to 24, while it was little changed for the other demographic groups. Provincially, employment increased in British Columbia and New Brunswick, edged up in Quebec and fell in Nova Scotia. There were more people working in health care and social assistance, last month, as well as in business, building and other support services. At the same time, employment fell in agriculture.
Public sector employment increased in March while the number of private sector employees and self-employed was unchanged.
While there was little change in employment for men and women aged 25 to 54 in March, the unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 5.7 per cent, as fewer people in this age group searched for work. Employment was also little changed for men and women aged 55 and older in March, coming in at 6 per cent in March.
In British Columbia, 18,000 more people were employed in March, pushing the unemployment rate down 0.6 percentage points to 5.8 per cent. Prior to this increase, British Columbia had seen little employment growth since the autumn of 2012.
Employment in New Brunswick rose by 3,200 in March, and the unemployment rate was 9.7 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province was up 5,600 or 1.6 per cent.
Following a decline in February, employment in Quebec edged up by 15,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was 7.6 per cent. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up by 31,000 (+0.8 per cent).
There were 3,400 fewer people working in Nova Scotia in March, and the unemployment rate was 9.3 per cent. Compared with the 12 months earlier, employment in the province was down 9,100 or 2.0 per cent.
In Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, employment was little changed, but an increase in the number of people searching for work pushed their unemployment rates up to 5.7 per cent, 4.5 per cent, and 4.9 per cent respectively. However, the unemployment rates in these provinces remain the lowest in the country.
In terms of industries, employment in health care and social assistance increased by 24,000 in March, continuing a long-term upward trend. In business, building and other support services, employment rose by 15,000 in March, but was little changed from 12 months earlier.
Public sector employment increased by 39,000 in March, with most of the gains in health care and social assistance.
The employment rate defined as the number of employed persons as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The unemployment rate is the number unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).