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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

November 08, 2019

Nova Scotia's seasonally adjusted employment level was up 600 in October to 467,500.  Employment is 9,800 higher than it was last October.

Nova Scotia's employment increase follows increases of 3,200 and 1,500 in September and August. Compared to September, Nova Scotia’s labour force increased by 5,300 to 508,300 in October. With an employment increase but a larger increase in the labour force the number of unemployed increased 4,800 persons. The unemployment rate was up 0.8 percentage points to 8.0 per cent in October.


In October, full-time employment decreased by 900 while part-time employment was up 1,400 persons.  Note: Changes in part-time and full-time employment can include the net impacts of changing hours of work within the same position. 

The year-over-year (Oct19 vs Oct18) increase in employment includes an increase of 6,700 in full-time employment and an increase of 3,100 in part time employment. The unemployment rate was up  0.4 percentage points compared to October 2018.

Comparing the first ten months of 2019 (Jan-Oct) with the same months in 2018, the labour force grew by 7,900 (1.6%) while employment was up by 10,800 (2.4%). This pushed the year-to-date average unemployment rate down from 7.7 per cent in Jan-Oct 2018 to 7.0 per cent in Jan-Oct 2019. 



Age Cohorts

Unemployment rates increased for all age cohorts in October. The unemployment rate for 15-24 increased 0.5 percentage points to 14.1 per cent. For 25-54 year old age cohort the unemployment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 7.0 per cent and for aged 55 years and older the unemployment increased 0.8 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

Age Cohort: Year-to-Date

Comparing the first ten months of 2019 with the same months in 2018, the youth cohort (aged 15-24) saw no change in population along with an increase in labour force (+2,800) and an increase in employment (+4,600) .  The decline in the number of unemployed (-1,800) resulted in the unemployment rate for 15-24-year olds declining 3.0 percentage points to 13.4 per cent on average over the first ten months of 2019.

Within the 25-54 age cohort, population growth (+1,500) was consistent with the increase in labour force (+2,300).  Faster growth in employment among core aged workers (+3,300) reduced unemployment in this age cohort (-1,000). This resulted in the unemployment rate decreasing 0.4 percentage points over last year to 5.7 per cent in Jan-Oct 2019.

In year to date terms, older workers (55+) reported increases in population (+6,700), labour force (+2,700) and employment (+2,900).  Employment grew slightly faster than labour force, reducing the number of unemployed (-100). The unemployment rate for older workers declined 0.3 percentage points over last year to an average of 6.3 per cent in Jan-Oct 2019.  



Males and Females

The male participation rate increased 0.9 percentage points to 65.5 per cent in October 2019. The participation rate for females was up 0.3 percentage points to 60.1 per cent, the highest rate since August 2013.

For October 2019, employment increased by 500 among males and increased by 100 among females compared to last month.  The labour force was up by 3,800 among males and increased 1,500 among females. The male unemployment rate increased to 9.2 per cent and the female unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent.

 Males and Females: Year-to-date

For the first ten months of 2019, the male population has increased by 4,400. The male labour force has increased by 1,400 while employment among males has increased by 4,500. The larger increase in employment than labour force resulted in the unemployment rate among males declining by 1.3 percentage points to 8.1 per cent for the Jan-Oct. 2019 period.

For Jan-Oct 2019 compared to Jan-Oct 2018, female labour force (+6,500) and employment (+6,300) gain outpaced population growth (+3,800). The unemployment rate among females declined 0.1 percentage points to average 5.8 per cent for Jan-Oct. 2019.




Monthly employment gains in October reflected a decrease in private sector employment (-200) and self-employed (-600) that were offset by an increase public sector work (+1,300).  Monthly employment in October was up 200 in goods industries and 400 in service sectors.  Private sector employment in Nova Scotia was over 300,000 in September and October.

Sectors – Year to Date

Looking at the results by class of worker for the first ten months of 2019, employment increases for the private sector (11,800) and the public sector (2,600) more than outweigh the decline in self-employment (-3,500). Over the first ten months of 2019, Nova Scotia averaged 293,900 private sector employees, 115,100 public sector employees, and 57,000 in self-employment.

Among goods-producing sectors, the first ten months of 2019, saw employment increases in Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+2,100) as well as Construction (+1,300) and Agriculture (+700). Manufacturing and utilities employment was mostly unchanged.

Services-producing industries averaged 6,800 more jobs compared to the first ten months of 2018. The largest increases come from Health care and social assistance (+5,000), Wholesale/Retail Trade (+2,600), as well as Information, culture and recreation (+900). There were declines in Other services (-1,900), Business, building and other support services (-900), and Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-700).


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

Compared with the first ten months of 2018, Cape Breton employment is up (+1,600) while the labour force increased by 1,600.  Year-to-date unemployment is unchanged relative to Jan-Oct 2018. The unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points from 14.6 per cent in Jan-Oct 2018 to 14.3 per cent in Jan-Oct 2019 as the pace of employment growth was faster than the rise in labour force.

For the North Shore region, the labour force decreased by 300 while employment increased by 1,300.  With labour force declining and employment growing, the number of unemployed declined by 1,600. This caused a 2.1 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 9.2 per cent to 7.1 per cent.

The Annapolis Valley reported an increase of 600 in employment along with an increase of 900 in the labour force. Unemployment declined 400 and the net result was a decline in the average unemployment rate by 0.7 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.

The Southern region had a decrease of 1,000 in employment along with a decline of 500 in labour force. The unemployment rate has increased 1.0 percentage points to 7.9 per cent so far in 2019.

Halifax experienced an increase of 8,100 in employment along with an increase of 5,900 in the labour force. With unemployment declining by 2,200, there was a decrease of 1.0 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 5.4 per cent in Halifax. 



Provincial Comparisons

The Nova Scotia unemployment rate was 8.0 per cent in September 2019 an increase of 0.4 percentage points from a year ago. The Canadian unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent, lower by 0.2 percentage points compared to one year ago.

Six provinces reported lower unemployment rates compared to a year ago with the largest decline in Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.4 percentage points). Higher unemployment rates occurred in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia The lowest unemployment rate among the provinces this month was in British Columbia (4.7 per cent) while the highest was in Newfoundland and Labrador (11.1 per cent).



Employment was up in all provinces in year to date terms. The largest gains in percentage terms was seen in British Columbia (+3.1%), Ontario (+2.8%) and Nova Scotia (+2.4%). Nationally, employment has risen 2.2 per cent comparing Jan-Oct 2019 with Jan-Oct 2018.


National Comparisons: Cities (Monthly)

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in October 2019 was 5.9 per cent (3 month moving average). Québec, Quebec (3.0 per cent) had the lowest unemployment rate among CMAs while the highest was in Saint John, New Brunswick (7.7 per cent).

The seasonally adjusted employment rate for the Halifax was 64.6 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points compared to last month. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (54.8 per cent) had the lowest employment rate, while Calgary, Alberta (68.4 per cent) had the highest.


Halifax’s employment (3 month moving average) for October 2019 was unchanged compared to the September 2019 result. The largest gain among CMAs was in Barrie where employment was up 2.6 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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