Employment Rate Steady

Employment was little changed for the second consecutive month. Job gains over the first eight months of 2004 totaled 113,000 (+0.7%), with almost all of the growth this year occurring in April and May. In August, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.2%.

While there was little change in the number of hours worked in August, hours worked has grown by 2.5% over the first eight months of 2004.

Gains in full-time jobs pushed employment among adult men up by 25,000 in August. The unemployment rate for this group was 5.8%, the lowest since December 2000. The increase in employment in August brings overall gains so far this year for adult men to 91,000 (+1.3%), all full time.

For the third consecutive month, employment among adult women was little changed. Employment among adult women is up only 32,000 (+0.5%) since the start of the year. In August, the unemployment rate among adult women increased 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% as more women were looking for work.

Employment among youths declined by 28,000 in August, all in full-time jobs, bringing overall losses over the last two months to 42,000. This recent decrease follows strength in the second quarter of the year. In August, the unemployment rate among youths edged up 0.3 percentage points to 13.7%.

This year's summer job market weakened for teenage students aged 15 to 19 (those who had been attending school full time and who plan to return in the fall) compared with the summer of 2003. The proportion of teenage students with a job fell from 46.3% during the summer of 2003 to 45.2% during the summer of 2004 (average of May to August). Over the same period, the unemployment rate for 15 to 19 year-old students rose slightly by 0.5 percentage points to 19.1%.

In contrast, the summer job market improved marginally for students aged 20 to 24. Despite a decline in August, the share of students aged 20 to 24 who were employed this summer averaged 69.9%, up 0.2 percentage points from the summer before. Over the same period, the participation rate for this group of students increased 0.6 percentage points to 77.8% and this pushed their unemployment rate up slightly by 0.5 percentage points to 10.1%.

Employment declined by 17,000 in accommodation and food services in August, with losses mostly among young people in Ontario. So far this year, overall employment in the sector is down 2.8% (-29,000).

Employment fell by 15,000 in British Columbia, almost all among youths. Sectors with job losses include retail and wholesale trade, professional, scientific and technical services as well as transportation and warehousing. Job losses earlier in the year, along with the decline in August, offset recent gains and leave employment in the province slightly below the level at the end of 2003. In August, the unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 7.7%.

Kelowna's unemployment rate was 6.2 %, also unchanged from the previous month. In total there were 5,200 collecting benefits.

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