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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

September 06, 2019

Nova Scotia's seasonally adjusted employment level was up 1,500 in August to 463,700.  Employment is 8,500 higher than it was  last August.

Nova Scotia's employment increase follows the previous month decrease of 6,200. Compared to July, Nova Scotia’s labour force was increased by 4,600 rising to 503,500 in August. With a larger increase in labour force than employment, the number of employed was up by 3,100 persons. The unemployment rate was up 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 per cent in August.

In August, full-time employment decreased by 400 while part-time employment was up 2,000 persons.  Note: Changes in part-time and full-time employment can include the net impacts of changing hours of work within the same position. 

Monthly employment gains in August reflected a rise in private sector employment (+4,800), partially offset by declines in public sector work (-2,000) and self-employment (-1,300).  Monthly employment in August was up 2,600 in goods industries and down 1,000 in service sectors.

The year-over-year increase in employment includes a decline of 300 in full-time employment and an increase of 8,900 in part time employment. The unemployment rate was down 0.4 percentage points compared to August 2018.

Comparing the first eight months of 2019 with the same months in 2018, the labour force grew by 7,200 (1.5%) while employment was up by 11,100 (2.4%). This pushed the year-to-date average unemployment rate down from 7.7 per cent in Jan-Aug 2018 to 6.9 per cent in Jan-Aug 2019.


Age Cohorts

In August 2019, the monthly unemployment rate for the 15-24 age cohort increased 0.7 percentage points to 15.7 per cent. The unemployment rate for the 25-54 year old age cohort increased 0.3 percentage points to 6.5 per cent, and for those aged 55 years and older, the unemployment rate increased 0.9 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.

Age Cohort: Year-to-Date

Comparing the first eight months of 2019 with the same months in 2018, the youth cohort (aged 15-24) saw a decline in population (-100) along with  an increase in labour force (+3,000)  an increase in employment (4,900) .  The decline in the number of unemployed (-1,900) resulted in the unemployment rate for 15-24-year olds declining 3.3  percentage points to 13.2 per cent on average over the first eight months of 2019.

Within the 25-54 age cohort, population growth (+1,400) was consistent with the increase   in labour force (+1,600).  Faster growth in employment among core aged workers (+3,300)   reduced unemployment in this age cohort (-1,700). This resulted in the unemployment rate decreasing 0.6 percentage points over last year to 5.5 per cent in Jan-Aug 2019.

In year to date terms, older workers (55+) reported increases in population (+6,600), labour force (+2,700) and employment (+2,900).  Employment grew slightly faster than labour force, reducing the number of unemployed (-200). The unemployment rate for older workers declined 0.4 percentage points over last year to an average of 6.3 per cent in Jan-Aug 2019.  




Males and Females

August 2019 saw increases in the male population (+700 to 392,000), labour force (+2,400 to 255,000) and employment (+600 to 232,200). The participation rate among males increased 0.5 percentage points to 65.1 per cent.

For August 2018, there were increases in female population (+500 to 416,600),  labour force (+2,200 to 248,500) and employment (+1,000 to 231,500). The participation rate for females was up 0.4 percentage points to 59.6 per cent, the highest rate since October 2015


For August 2019, employment increased by 600 among males and increased by 1,000 among females compared to last month.  The labour force was up by 2,400 among by males and 2,200 among females. The larger increases in the labour force than employment for the month resulted in 0.6 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate for males to 8.9 per cent and a 0.4 percentage point increase in the female unemployment rate to 6.8 per cent.

 Males and Females: Year-to-date

For the first eight months of 2019, the male population has increased by 4,300. The male labour force has increased by 1,400 while employment among males has increased by 4,700. The larger increase in employment than labour force resulted in the unemployment rate among males declining by 1.4 percentage points to 8.0 per cent for the Jan-Aug. 2019 period.

For Jan-Aug 2019 (compared to Jan-Aug 2018), female labour force (+5,800) and employment (+6,300) gain outpaced population growth (+3,600). With employment rising faster than labour force, the unemployment rate among females declined 0.4 percentage points to average 5.6 per cent for Jan-Aug. 2019.



Sectors – Year to Date

Looking at the results by class of worker for the first eight months of 2019, employment increased for the private sector (10,400) and for the public sector (4,200) more than outweighed the decline in self-employment (-3,600). Over the first eight months of 2019, Nova Scotia averaged 292,300 private sector employees, 115,900 public sector employees, and 57,500 in self-employment.

Among goods-producing sectors, the first eight months of 2019, saw employment increases in Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+2,400) as well as Construction (+800) and Agriculture (+800). Manufacturing employment was mostly unchanged (+100) while utilities employment declined (-300).

Services-producing industries averaged 7,300 more jobs compared to the first eight months of 2018. The largest increases come from Health care and social assistance (+4,500), Wholesale/Retail Trade (+2,500), as well as Information, culture and recreation (+1,500). The largest declines came from Other services (-1,500 mostly personal/repair sectors), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-1,000), and Business, building and other support services (-700).


Regions – Year-to-Date (unadjusted 3-month moving average)

Compared with the first eight months of 2018, Cape Breton employment is up (+1,500) while the labour force increased by 1,700.  Year-to-date unemployment has averaged 300 higher than in Jan-Aug 2018. This small increase in unemployment lifted the unemployment rate from 14.5 per cent in Jan-Aug 2018 to 14.6 per cent in Jan-Aug 2019.

For the North Shore region, the labour force decreased by 800 while employment   increased by 1,000.  With labour force falling and employment increasing the number of unemployed declined by 1,800. This caused a 2.4 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 9.5 per cent to 7.1 per cent.

The Annapolis Valley reported an increase of 400 in employment along with a decrease of 200 for the labour force. Unemployment declined 600 and the net result was a decline in the average unemployment rate by 1.0 percentage points to 6.8 per cent.

The Southern region had an increase of 400 in employment along with an increase of 700 in the labour force. The larger increase in labour force than employment resulted in the unemployment rate increasing 0.3 percentage points to 7.5 per cent so far in 2019.

Halifax experienced an increase of 8,000 in employment along with an increase of 5,400 in the labour force. With unemployment declining by 2,600, there was a decrease of 1.2 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 5.2 per cent in Halifax. 




Provincial Comparisons

The Nova Scotia unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent in August 2019 a decline of 0.4 percentage points from a year ago. The Canadian unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent, lower by 0.3 percentage points compared to one year ago.

Eight provinces reported lower unemployment rates compared to a year ago with Alberta (+0.5 percentage points) and New Brunswick (+0.3 percentage points) reporting increases. The lowest unemployment rate among the provinces this month was in Quebec (4.7 per cent) while the highest was in Newfoundland and Labrador (13.1 per cent).


Employment was up in all provinces in year to date terms. The largest gains in percentage terms was seen in British Columbia (+3.4%), Ontario (+2.6%) and Nova Scotia (+2.4%). Nationally, employment has risen 2.1 per cent comparing Jan-Aug 2019 with Jan-Aug 2018.


National Comparisons: Cities (Monthly)

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in August 2019 was 5.6 per cent (3 month moving average). Québec, Quebec (2.6 per cent) had the lowest unemployment rate among CMAs while the highest was in the St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (7.9 per cent).

The seasonally adjusted employment rate for the Halifax was 65.3 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points compared to last month. London, Ontario (had the lowest employment rate (54.7 per cent), while Calgary, Alberta had the highest (68.9 per cent). 


Halifax’s employment (3 month moving average) for August 2019 had no change compared to the July 2019 result. The largest gain among CMAs was in Ottawa-Gatineau and London where employment was up 1.7 per cent. 


Note: Seasonally adjusted, 3 month average.

With the January 2019 Labour Force Survey release, Statistics Canada has changed the processing systems that is used to impute data of incomplete records of the survey. Statistics Canada notes that for most LFS estimates the difference from the new system will be small, but some areas could be impacted such as part-time employment and employment by firm size. The transition is being monitored and historical revisions of series maybe made in the future. For more details, see Transition of Labour Force Survey Data Processing to the Social Survey Processing Environment (SSPE)

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