After the economic downturn in 2009, Nova Scotia recorded an increased unemployment rate in the 2011 National Household Survey as compared to the 2006 Census. The increased unemployment rate was more pronounced for visible minorities (+2.5%) than it was for all of Nova Scotia (+0.8%). The increase was even more pronounced for the black population (+2.7%).
Labour Force Participation Rate
While the participation rate for Nova Scotia as a whole improved in 2011 (74.9%) as compared to 2006 (74.5%), the rate for visible minorities was slightly lower (going from 68.0% to 66.6%). Meanwhile, the participation rate for those of Aboriginal identity was slightly higher in 2011 (total and on reserve), as was the participation rate for the black population. While all groups continue to drop below the provincial average rate, the largest disparity exists for those of Aboriginal identity living on reserve.
Immigrants - Employment Rate
Overall, employment rates for immigrants in Nova Scotia tend to be lower than that of non-immigrants. However, it is important to note that the age and gender compositions, factors that affect employment rates, differ between immigrants and non-immigrants. The graph below shows employment rates by immigrant status in Nova Scotia for those aged between 25 and 54 years. In 2013, the percentage of non-immigrants, or those born in Canada, aged 25 to 54 years who were employed was 80.6% compared to 76.8% for all immigrants. However the gap in employment rates between these two groups narrowed with non-immigrants having an employment rate of 80.1% compared to 79.5 for immigrants. A further analysis of employment rates among immigrants shows that employment rates for immigrants improve and surpass that for non-immigrants the longer they are in the province. The employment rate for immigrants who landed more than 10 years ago was 87.9% in 2014, a 5.7 percentage point improvement from 2013. This employment rate was higher than that for non-immigrants, which declined from 80.6% in 2013 to 80.1% in 2014. Most recent immigrants had an employment rate of 69.5% in 2014 which was comparatively lower than that of non-immigrants within the same age group; however, this was a 1.7 percentage point improvement from 2013.
Immigrants and non-permanent residents (students with work permits, temporary foreign workers, or refugee claimants) constituted 5.7% and 0.5%, respectively, of employed Nova Scotians in 2011. Between 2006 and 2011, Nova Scotia’s employment growth was largely due to the contribution of immigrants and non-permanent residents. Their respective shares of the overall employment growth In Nova Scotia were 13.4% and 28.1%.
Rates of postsecondary educational attainment vary across diversity groups. In 2011, immigrants had the highest rate (77%) of educational attainment in Nova Scotia (among adults aged 25 to 64). Postsecondary educational attainment for recent immigrants (those who emigrated between 2001 and 2011) was 84%. The black population and those who reported Aboriginal identity had the lowest percentages of postsecondary educational attainment (54% and 59% respectively) and were also the only groups with a postsecondary educational attainment lower than that of Nova Scotia as a whole (64%).
Immigrants with a postsecondary educational attainment who worked full-time, full year had a higher median employment income ($53,356) than non-immigrants ($49,939) and the overall Nova Scotia median employment income ($50,008) in 2010. The median income for recent immigrants who worked full-time, full year was relatively close to that of non-immigrants. Alternately, fewer immigrants (64%) worked full-time, full year compared to non-immigrants (68%). Only 53% of recent immigrants (Immigrated, 2001 – 2009) worked full-time, full year hence their median income ($33,053) for all work activity was lower than that of non-immigrants($40,862) and immigrants overall ($40, 090).