Nova Scotia’s overall employment levels have stayed about the same as pre-recession levels of 2008/2009. Changing demographics are largely behind the pattern of employment growth observed in the different age groups over the last few years. Most of the employment growth in the Nova Scotia labour market has been in older workers aged 55 years and over. Employment for older workers increased on average 2.2% per year since 2009 while it fell 0.2% and 0.1% per year for core-aged workers and youth respectively.

The employment declines for those aged 54 years and below can partly be attributed to population declines within these age groups. Between 2009 and 2019, the population for core aged workers declined 0.6% per year while for youth aged 15 to 24 years it declined 0.9% per year. As a result of population declining faster than employment, and the improved labour force conditions in 2019, the employment rate grew 4.5 percentage points for youth aged workers and 0.4 percentage points for core aged workers.

Indexed Employment by Age Group, 2009 to 2019, Nova Scotia base year 2009=100


Although female employment is very similar that of male employment, there is no obvious relationship between genders with respect to the rise and fall in employment growth. Female employment increased by 1,100 jobs (3.0%) in 2019 compared to 2018. Male employment increased by 200 (1.5%) jobs during the same period.

There continues to be differences in the types of industries in which males and females are employed. In 2019, 94% of females and 69% of males were employed in the service-producing sector as opposed to the goods-producing sector. There are also gender differences in the participation of males and females in part-time and full-time work. In 2019, a higher percentage of males (88 percent) were employed full-time compared to 75 percent of females.

The job gains for females in 2019 are partially explained by a higher overall growth in part-time jobs as females hold 66.6% of all part-time jobs. In 2019, part-time jobs held grew by 5,700 (7.1%) whereas full-time jobs increased by 4,600 (1.2%) compared to 2018. Most part-time jobs can be found in the service sector (94.2% in 2019).  Females’ overall job gains (3.0%) and males had job gains (1.5%), there was an increase of 2,100 full-time jobs and of 4,700 part-time jobs for females in 2019 compared to 2018. Additionally, males experienced gains in full-time jobs (2,400) and in part-time jobs (1,000) during the same period. 

Nova Scotia Ages 15 years and over

Employment Type

Employment in Nova Scotia increased overall by 6,900 (1.5%) in 2018.  However, there were both gains and losses in employment. There were losses of 4,300 (-5.1%) part-time positions in Nova Scotia between 2017 and 2018 along with more than double the gains in full time employment (11,100 positions). Between 2008 and 2018, on average 81% of employment positions were full time positions which grew by 0.2% per year, on average. During this same time period 19% of employment positions were part time and declined in 6 out of the 10 years, producing an average annual growth rate of -0.26%.

Part-time employment can either be voluntary or in-voluntary. Someone may be voluntarily employed part-time because they are in school, or have other reasons or personal preferences. Involuntary part-time is a result of being employed part-time due to business conditions or not being able to find work which offers full-time hours. A higher percentage of part-time job losses in 2018 (53%) were for voluntary part-time positions as opposed to in-voluntary part-time. Overall, voluntary part-time was 13.3% and in-voluntary part-time was 4.4% of all jobs in the province in 2018.

Full-time vs Part-time Employment, 2017 and 2018, Nova Scotia Ages 15 years and over