While overall the province had an increase in employment (1.5%) that was driven entirely by full time jobs (3.0%) and mitigated by a decrease in part-time jobs (-4.3%). The service sector gained 10,300 (3.6%) full-time jobs and lost 4,800 (-6.0%) part-time jobs. Conversely, the goods gained 900 (1.2%) full-time jobs and 500 (9.3%) part-time jobs.
Nova Scotia’s goods-producing sector accounted for 18.1% of provincial employment in 2018. Two industries in the goods-producing sector experienced employment declines in 2018 compared to 2017: Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-10.9%); and Utilities (-5.1%). However, there were more jobs added to the remaining goods-producing industries. The Agriculture sector made a significant gain of 500 jobs (10.6%), Construction added 1,500 jobs (4.7%) and Manufacturing increased by 700 jobs (2.3%) in 2018 compared to 2017.
While overall there has been much improvement in the goods-producing sector, the unemployment rate in these industries continues to be higher in comparison to the services-producing sector. The Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas industry had the highest unemployment rate in 2018, 20.4%.
Though employment increased in the services-producing sector, only four out of 11 industries experienced growth. Double digit growth occurred in two industries: Information, culture and recreation and Accommodation and food services together gained 7,300 jobs (15.8%) in 2018 compared to 2017. More modest growth occurred in Wholesale and retail trade 3,200 jobs (4.2%) and in Educational Services 1,400 jobs (3.8%).
While employment in the service-producing sector grew, it was mitigated by losses in most of its industries. The most significant loss of jobs was in Health care and social assistance with a loss of 3,600 jobs (-5.0%) in 2018 compared to 2017. There remaining industries (Professional, scientific and technical services; Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing; Business, building and other support services; Public Administration; and Other services) lost a combined total of 6,200 jobs (-3.3%) in 2018 compared to 2017. The highest unemployment rate (8.3%) in the services-producing sector was in the Business, building and other support services industry.
In 2018, five out of ten occupational groups had increased employment; overall employment increased by 1.5% from 2017. Occupations in Natural resources, agriculture and related production experienced the largest decrease (-7.3%). Art, culture, recreation and sport occupations had the largest employment increase (28.7%). Sales and service occupations continued to employ the largest number of people and accounted for 26.8% of overall employment.
Occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production had the largest unemployment rate (18.6%) of all occupational groups in 2018. Health occupations had the lowest unemployment rate (1.7%). The overall unemployment rate in Nova Scotia was 7.5%. The highest median hourly wage in 2018 was in management occupations ($38.46) while the lowest was in sales and service occupations ($13.00).
Goods-Producing Sector Trends
Data in the graphs below is indexed to the year 2010 (post-recession period) to show trends and to compare with the Canadian economy. After 2010, a clear gap appeared between national employment growth and provincial employment in the goods producing sector that has continued to widen over time. Between 2010 and 2018, employment in Nova Scotia’s good-producing sector has decreased 5.4%, whereas at the national level it has grown 5.5%.
Service-Producing Sector Trends
Employment in the service-producing sector has been increasing at national and provincial levels though growth has been faster nationally. After peaking in 2012, relative to 2010, employment growth in Nova Scotia’s service-producing sector went on a downward trend until 2017. However, employment in Nova Scotia’s service-producing sector was 2.6% higher in 2018 compared to 2010.