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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

August 09, 2019

Nova Scotia's seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 6,200 in July to 462,200.  Employment is 8,400 higher than it was in July 2018.

Nova Scotia’s July employment decrease follows the previous monthly decline of 500 and a gain of 4,500 in May. Nova Scotia’s labour force decreased by 2,400 in July to 498,900. With a larger employment decrease than labour force decrease, unemployment increased by 3,800 persons and the unemployment rate was up 0.8 percentage points to 7.4 per cent in July.

In July, full-time employment declined 1,200 while part-time employment was down 5,000 persons. Note: Changes in part-time and full-time employment can include the net impacts of changing hours of work within the same position.

Compared with July 2018, the labour force has increased by 5,700 and employment is up 8,400. The year-over-year increase in employment includes a rise of 5,500 in full time employment and an increase of 2,900 in part time employment. The unemployment rate was down 0.6 percentage points compared to July 2018.

Comparing the first seven months of 2019 with the same months in 2018, the labour force grew by 7,100 (+1.4%) while employment was up by 11,400 (+2.5%). This pushed the year-to-date average unemployment rate down from 7.7 per cent Jan-July 2018 to 6.7 per cent in Jan-July 2019.



Age Cohorts

In July 2019, the monthly unemployment rate for the 15-24 age cohort increased 5.2 percentage points to 15.0 per cent. The unemployment rate for the 25-54 year old age cohort increased 1.0 percentage point to 6.2 per cent, and for those aged 55 years and older, the unemployment rate declined 2.3 percentage points to 5.8 per cent.

Age Cohort: Year-to-Date

Comparing the first seven months of 2019 to the same period in 2018, the youth cohort (aged 15-24) saw a small decrease in population (-200) but increases of 3,300 in labour force and 5,500 in employment. With the number of unemployed declining as a proportion of the labour force, the unemployment rate for 15-24-year olds decreased 3.7 percentage points to 12.9 per cent in the first seven months of 2019.

Within the 25-54 age cohort, the population in January-July 2019 was 1,300 higher than it was in the same period of 2018. Employment among core aged workers rose by 3,100 and labour force rose by 1,100. Unemployment in this age cohort dropped by 2,000, and as a result, the unemployment rate declined by 0.7 percentage points over last year to 5.4 per cent in Jan-July 2019.

In year to date terms, persons aged 55 and older had a population increase of 6,600 in January to July 2019. The labour force for older workers was up 2,700 and employment increased by 2,800. The similar gains in employment and labour force resulted in year to date unemployment rate having a small decline from 6.5 per cent in Jan-July 2018 to 6.2 per cent in Jan-July 2019.




Males and Females

In July 2019, the male participation rate declined 0.6 percentage points to 64.6 per cent as the labour force declined by 2,200 compared to the previous monthly while female population measured by the Labour Force Survey was up by 600 persons. Female participation rate declined 0.1 per cent to 59.2 per cent with a small decline of 200 persons in the labour force and an increase of 700 persons in the Labour Force Survey population.

For July 2019, employment declined by 1,700 among males and by 4,600 among females compared to last month. The larger decline in the male labour force than male employment for the month resulted in 0.1 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate to 8.3 per cent. The unemployment rate among females increased 1.8 percentage points to 6.4 per cent.

 Males and Females: Year-to-date

For the first seven months of 2019, the male population has increased by 4,200. The male labour force has increased by 1,500 while employment among males has increased by 4,900. The larger increase in employment than labour force resulted in the unemployment rate among males to decline by 1.4 percentage points to 7.9 per cent for the Jan-Jul. 2019 period.

For the Jan-Jul. 2019 period compared to Jan-Jul. 2018 period, labour force (+5,600) and employment (+6,500) gain has been greater than source population growth (+3,500) among females. With employment rising faster than labour force, the unemployment rate among females declined 0.5 percentage points to average 5.4 per cent for Jan-Jul. 2019.



Sectors – Year to Date

Looking at the results by class of worker for the first seven months of 2019, employment increases for the private sector (+9,700) and for the public sector (+4,900) offset a self-employment decline (-3,100). In Nova Scotia, there was an average of 291,600 private sector employees, 116,400 public sector employees, and 58,000 self-employed for the first seven months of 2019.

Among goods-producing sectors, the first seven months of 2019 saw employment growth concentrated in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying and oil and gas (+2,200) as well as increases in agriculture (+800), and construction (+500). There were offsetting employment losses in utilities (-300) and manufacturing (-100). 

Services-producing employment increased by 8,200 compared to the first seven months of 2018. The largest increases come from wholesale/retail trade, health care, and information, culture and recreation. The largest declines came from finance/insurance and other services.


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

The Cape Breton region showed an increase in employment (1,300) with labour force increasing by 1,700, and an increase in unemployment (400). This put upward pressure on the unemployment rate, which increased from 14.4 per cent in January-July 2018 to 14.8 per cent in January-July 2019.

For the North Shore region, the labour force declined by 1,100 and employment increased by 700. 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 decline of 300 for the labour force. Unemployment dropped by 800, and the net result was decline in the average unemployment rate by 1.3 percentage points to 6.8 per cent.

The Southern region saw an increase of 1,500 in employment along with an increase of 1,600 in the labour force. The number of unemployed was up by 100, but the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 7.3 per cent due to there being a smaller share of the labour force unemployed.

Halifax experienced an increase in employment of 7,600 along with an increase in the labour force of 4,900. With unemployment declining by 2,700, there was a drop in the unemployment rate of 1.2 percentage points to 5.1 per cent in Halifax.



Provincial Comparisons

The Nova Scotia unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent in July 2019, declining 0.6 percentage points from a year ago. The Canadian unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points from one year ago.

Seven provinces reported lower unemployment rates compared to a year ago with New Brunswick (+0.8 percentage points), Ontario (+0.3 percentage points) and Alberta (+0.3 percentage points) increasing. The lowest unemployment rate among the provinces this month was in British Columbia (4.4 per cent) while the highest was in Newfoundland and Labrador at 12.8 per cent.



Employment was up in all provinces in year to date terms. The largest gains in percentage terms was seen in British Columbia (+3.5%), Ontario (+2.5%) and Nova Scotia (+2.5%). Nationally, employment was up 2.1 per cent.


National Comparisons: Cities (Monthly)

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Halifax Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in July 2019 was 5.2 per cent (3 month moving average). Quebec City (2.3 per cent) had the lowest unemployment rate among CMAs, while the highest was in St. John’s (7.7 per cent).


The seasonally adjusted employment rate for the Halifax CMA was 65.5 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points compared to last month. London had the lowest employment rate (53.9 per cent), while Calgary had the highest (69.3 per cent).

Halifax’s employment (3 month moving average) for July 2019 was up 0.6 per cent compared to the June 2019 result. The largest gain among CMAs was in Ottawa-Gatineau, where employment rose by 1.6 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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