Canadian Unemployment Rates Drops to Lowest In 42 Years

The labor market ended 2017 with strong job creation, which pushed Canada’s lowest unemployment rate in 42 years. And it was Quebec that led the march in December with 27,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate fell below the 5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} threshold in Quebec, a level not seen since 1976, when Statistics Canada began publishing its Labor Force Survey in its current form.

The December figures released yesterday crown an exceptional year of job creation. They also increase the likelihood of the Bank of Canada raising its key rate as early as January 17, rather than March as most observers expect.

“The odds in January rather than March are going up a notch,” said Benoit P. Durocher, Senior Economist at Desjardins.

The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, recently indicated that official statistics underestimated the real unemployment rate, especially among young people aged 15 to 24, which forced him to be cautious before continuing to raise rates. interest.

With yesterday’s figures, the concerns of Mr. Poloz should fade, says Matthieu Arseneau, senior economist at the National Bank.

Regardless of which side you look at, the job market is in excellent health, he said. “The year was a great year for the Canadian job market, which created no less than 423,000 net new jobs, an unparalleled 15-year record. In 2017, job creation in Canada was concentrated in the production of goods (+ 3.5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}), more than in services (+ 2.0{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}). It is in manufacturing that the number of jobs has increased the most in the country (+ 86,000), followed by natural resources (+15,000) and construction (+51,000).

For the first time in five years, all Canadian provinces posted job gains in December. Quebec created the most, and the Belle Province unemployment rate is now the lowest in Canada after that of British Columbia.

Since December 2016, total employment has increased by 87,000 in Quebec, a leap of 2.1{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}. These new jobs were almost all full-time jobs, says Statistics Canada.

Job creation was also strong in Montréal, where the unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 5.3{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}, noted Matthieu Arseneau. “Between December 2015 and December 2017, the unemployment rate in the Montreal area went from 8.8{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} to 5.3{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}, which is a pretty extraordinary performance,” he said.

2.5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}, the record to beat?

At 4.9{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}, is Quebec’s unemployment rate really at a historic low? In fact, the statistics in their current form go back to 1976, which is a rather short story. The economist Pierre Fortin, who has studied the labor market extensively, points out that the unemployment rate in Quebec was barely 2.5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} in 1953 and that it was 3.3{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} in 1966, if connects the old methodology with the one used today by Statistics Canada.

It must be said that this was another time and that the labor market has changed a lot since then, especially with the largest number of women in the labor force.


  • Canada: 5.7{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}
  • Quebec: 4.9{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e}


  • Canada: + 78,600
  • Quebec: + 26,900
  • Ontario: + 1900


  • British Columbia: 4.6{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} (4.8{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e})
  • Quebec: 4.9{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} (5.4{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e})
  • Ontario: 5.5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} (5.5{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e})
  • Alberta: 6.9{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e} (7.3{ed1200bddbc03902e1fcc2a87da27944790d59ab127710d2b088ca8caae8436e})

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About the Author: Mark Furgison

Mark has over six years experience as a teacher, ecologist, zoologist and botanist. She has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University Graduate School. His professional expertise in environmental health empacts has been recognized since 1973, when she testified at a New York DEC public hearing in Utica on ground truthing aerial photo wetland mapping by wetland community type. He taught (HS) Physics, Geology, Oceanography, Chemistry and photography from 1970-1980 at Palfrey Street School, Watertown, MA. Aproject: National Cooperative Highway Research Program.

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