Unemployment in Canada - Statistics & Facts

Between 2008 and 2009, Canada’s economy entered a recession phase. During the economic recession, Canada’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.3 percent, which was an increase of 2.2 percent over the pre-recession unemployment level, and roughly amounted to 1.52 million unemployed persons. The unemployment rate refers to the proportion of people in the labor force who are currently not working and are either available or looking for employment. An economic recession is a period of time, when the overall economy declines. Usually, economic recessions are temporary, and part of a normal business-cycle. Economic recession and increased unemployment are linked, as business sales and revenues decline which consequently causes businesses to stop expanding.

The issue of increased unemployment had particularly severe implications on young adults trying to enter the labor market after school to look for their first job. Between 2008 and 2009, youth unemployment increased by 3.4 points and more recently, reaching 11.5 percent by the end of 2017. After the economic recession, the average duration of unemployment rose from 15 to 20 weeks on average as of 2017. The most common reasons for being unemployed given by Canadian respondents were "not working in the last year" or "never worked" in 2017.

The recovery from the economic recession in Canada also correlated with growth in employment. As of 2017, there was a total of 18.4 million employed persons in Canada. This was an increase of roughly an additional million employed individuals, compared to 2008 employment data.The employment rate among people with higher education levels was generally above the national average, at 75 percent in 2017. In 2017, the highest employment level among Canadian provinces was in Ontario with more than 7.1 million employed or self-employed persons. In that year, the industry providing the most jobs was retail trade, with more than two million Canadians employed.

It is projected that the Canadian economy will continue to grow and the unemployment rate in Canada till 2022 will remain at around 6.3 percent. According to the Canadian employment growth forecast, over the period of 2015 to 2024, the industry with the fastest growth, at an annual rate of 2.1 percent on average, will be computer system design services.

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Unemployment in Canada

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