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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

January 06, 2023

December labour force survey results reflect the period from December 4-10.

For annual labour market information for 2022, see: Labour Market Trends, Annual 2022 

Ages 15+ (December 2022 vs November 2022, seasonally adjusted)

Nova Scotia's seasonally adjusted employment increased 700 (+0.1%) from November 2022, rising to 483,200 in December 2022.  This was not a significant employment gain.

The change in employment was attributable to part-time employment (+1,700), which offset a decline of 1,000 in full-time work.  These changes include variations in hours within the same job.  

Nova Scotia’s labour force increased by 4,500 (+0.9%) to 518,100 in December 2022.

With labour force rising faster than employment, Nova Scotia's unemployment rate increased from 6.0% in November 2022 to 6.7% in December 2022.   

Nova Scotia's labour force participation rate was up 0.5 percentage points to 61.0% in December 2022.  The employment rate was unchanged at 56.8% in December 2022.     

Ages 15+ (December 2022 vs December 2021, seasonally adjusted)

Compared with December of 2021, Nova Scotia's population over the age of 15 had increased by 21,700 (+2.6%) while the labour force grew by 6,700 (+1.3%) and employment increased by 13,300 (+2.8%).  The unemployment rate decreased by 1.4 percentage points while the participation rate fell by 0.7 percentage points.  The employment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points. 

Age Cohorts (December 2022 vs November 2022, seasonally adjusted)

Among youth (ages 15-24), employment increased by 1,700 (+2.7%) while the labour force increased by 2,800 (+3.9%).  Because labour force rose at a faster pace, the youth unemployment rate increased from 12.5% in November to 13.4% in December.  The rise in the youth labour force lifted the youth participation rate 2.4 percentage points to 66.3% while the youth employment rate increased 1.4 percentage points to 57.4%.

The population aged 25-54 makes up the largest part of the labour force.  In the core age group, employment edged down by 700 (-0.2%) and the labour force increased by 2,400 (+0.7%).  Because employment fell while labour force grew, the core aged unemployment rate increased 0.9 percentage points to 5.9% in December. The core aged participation rate rose by 0.6 percentage points to 87.7% while the core aged employment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 82.5%.

Older workers (aged 55+) reported decreases in both labour force (-600 or -0.5%) and employment (-400 or -0.3%).  With labour force declining slightly faster than employment, the older worker unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 4.9%. The older worker participation rate was down 0.2 percentage points to 32.5% and the employment rate for older workers was also down 0.2 percentage points to at 30.9%.  

Males and Females (Ages 15+, December 2022 vs November 2022, seasonally adjusted)

Monthly employment decreased by 1,100 (-0.5%) for males while the labour force grew by 1,100 (+0.4%).  With lower employment and higher labour force, the male unemployment rate increased 0.9 percentage points to 7.6% in December.  The male participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.6% while the male employment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 58.8%. 

Females reported increases in both labour force (+3,400 or +1.3%) and employment (+1,700 or +0.7%).  As the labour force growth outpaced employment gains, the female unemployment rate increased from 5.3% in November to 5.9% in December.  Female participation rates were up 0.8 percentage points to 58.5% while female employment rates were up 0.3 percentage points to 55.0%.

Overall, last month's labour force growth was concentrated among youth and core aged workers as well as among women.  Among these three cohorts there were also notable declines in the population not in the labour force.  Although there were employment gains for youth and for women, these did not keep pace with rising labour force.  

Age and sex cohorts (December 2022 vs December 2021, seasonally adjusted)

Compared with December 2021, the latest month's labour force growth was concentrated among core aged workers (whose population is also growing faster than others). Youth and older workers both reported declining labour force, despite rising populations.  Employment gains over the last year also concentrated among core aged workers with a small increase in older workers and a decline in youth employment. Unemployment was down for all cohorts.  With population growing faster than labour force, the numbers not in the labour force increased for all cohorts.

Class of Worker and Industry (December 2022 vs November 2022, seasonally adjusted)

The December 2022 employment change reflected an increase in private sector workers (+2,400 or +0.8%) offset by contractions for public sector workers (-1,300 or -1.0%) and the self-employed (-400 or -0.7%).

Classified by industry, the employment change from November to December reflected notable increases in professional/technical services, transportation, personal/repaid services and construction.  These gains were offset by sizeable employment declines in manufacturing, accommodation/food services and business support/call centres.

Class of Worker and Industry (December 2022 vs December 2021, seasonally adjusted)

Compared to December 2021, there were gains in employment for private sector workers (+16,000 or +5.6%), public sector workers (+2,300 or +1.9%) while self employment was down (-5,100 or -8.3%). 

Over the last 12 months, employment by industry has risen most sharply for health/social, construction, information/culture/recreation, finance/insurance/real estate, personal/repair services, forestry/fishing/mining and public administration.  There were notable employment losses in transportation/warehousing, agriculture, utilities, business support/call centres, wholesale/retail and accommodation/food.  

Hours worked and employment (December 2022, unadjusted)

Limited work hours (<30 hours/week) were more prevalent in service industries during December 2022, notably in information/culture/recreation, accommodation/food and wholesale/retail.  A higher portion of workers in goods industries reported longer hours (>40 hours/week), notably in forestry/fishing/mining.    

Note that some data on those working few hours in utilities, forestry/fishing/mining and agriculture were suppressed.

Average weekly earnings (unadjusted, both full time and part time, December 2022 vs December 2021)

Average weekly earnings increased by 6.0% from December 2021 to December 2022.  Earnings were up by across most industries, with the exceptions of personal/repair services, transportation/warehousing and forestry/fishing/mining. The fastest gains in average weekly earnings were in business support/call centres, utilities, accommodation/food, wholesale/retail, agriculture and manufacturing. 

The average increase in Nova Scotia's all items consumer price index was 7.5% through the first eleven months of 2022, compared against the same months of 2021.

Average weekly earnings across all employees were $1,011.01 in December 2022.  The highest average weekly earnings (both full and part time employees) were reported in utilities, public administration, professional/technical services and forestry/fishing/mining.  The lowest average weekly earnings were in accommodation/food services, wholesale/retail trade and agriculture. 

Regions (December 2022 vs December 2021, unadjusted 3 month moving average)

Compared with December 2021, employment and labour force each increased in Halifax, Southern Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley while labour force and employment each decreased in the North Shore economic region.  Employment was up while labour force was down in Cape Breton.   

Unemployment rates declined in all regions except the North Shore from December 2021 to December 2022. Employment gains outpaced labour force increases in Halifax, the Annapolis Valley and Southern Nova Scotia.  Employment rose while labour force fell in Cape Breton.  Employment declined at a slightly faster rate than labour force for the North Shore region.

Participation rates were up in all regions except the North Shore.  Employment rates were down in all regions except Southern Nova Scotia.

Provincial Comparisons (seasonally adjusted)

Canada's labour force grew by 0.4% from November to December.  Nova Scotia's labour force grew by 0.9%.  Newfoundland and Labrador reported the fastest labour force gains over this period.  There were increases in labour force for all provinces except Prince Edward Island.

Compared with December 2021, national labour force was up 0.9% (1.3% in Nova Scotia).  There were gains in 9 provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador.  Prince Edward Island reported the only decline.  

Canada's employment increased  by 104,000 (+0.5%) from November to December.  Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest monthly increase among the 9 provinces with employment gains.  Only New Brunswick reported a (statistically insignificant) employment decline in December.

Compared with December 2021, Nova Scotia's employment was up 2.8% in December 2022, outpacing the national gain of 2.0%.  There were increases in employment for all provinces, but faster gains in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in Alberta.    

The national unemployment rate was 5.0% in December 2022, down 0.1 percentage points from November 2022 and down from 6.0% in December 2021.  Quebec had the lowest unemployment rate while Newfoundland and Labrador reported the highest unemployment rate. 

The national participation rate was 65.0% in December 2022.  The highest participation rates were in Alberta and Saskatchewan while the lowest was in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The national employment rate was 61.8% in December 2022.  Alberta reported the highest employment rate while Newfoundland and Labrador reported the lowest.

Census Metropolitan Areas (December 2022, seasonally adjusted 3 month moving average)

The Halifax unemployment rate was 5.4% in the seasonally adjusted December 2022 three month moving average.  This was just above the national average, but lower than in the rest of Nova Scotia (7.7%).  In central and western provinces, unemployment rates in Census Metropolitan Areas are similar to or higher than unemployment rates outside CMAs. In the Atlantic Provinces unemployment rates are typically higher outside CMAs.  

Halifax's participation rate was 66.8% in the seasonally adjusted December 2022 three month moving average while participation rates were 55.4% across the rest of the province.

Halifax reported an employment rate of 63.1% in the seasonally adjusted December 2022 three month moving average while the employment rate was 51.2% outside the city.

Sources:  Statistics Canada.  Table 14-10-0036-01  Actual hours worked by industry, monthly, unadjusted for seasonalityTable 14-10-0063-01  Employee wages by industry, monthly, unadjusted for seasonalityTable  14-10-0287-01   Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle, last 5 months; Table 14-10-0380-01  Labour force characteristics, three-month moving average, seasonally adjustedTable 14-10-0387-01  Labour force characteristics, three-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality, last 5 monthsTable  14-10-0355-01   Employment by industry, monthly, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, and trend-cycle, last 5 months (x 1,000)Table  14-10-0288-01   Employment by class of worker, monthly, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, last 5 months (x 1,000)Table: 14-10-0380-02   Labour force characteristics, three month moving average, seasonally adjusted (x 1,000)

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