Nova Scotia’s labour force decreased by 900 (-0.2%) from 505,400 in December 2019 to 504,500 in January 2020. Compared to a year ago, the labour force increased by 5,300 (+1.1%) owing mainly to population growth (+1.2%).
Employment grew by 700 (+0.4%) in monthly and year over year terms, in January 2020.
Compared to twelve months ago, youth employment rose by 3,200 (+5.0%) while the employment of older workers decreased by 2,300 (-2.1%).
Compared to twelve months ago, employment in the Goods-producing sector expanded by 3,900 (+4.6%), partially offset by the contraction in the Services-producing sector (-2,300, -0.6%). Manufacturing experienced the strongest growth (+3,000, +9.6%) while the employment in Educational services declined by the most (2,900, -7.5%).
The monthly unemployment rate was 7.4%, down by 0.5 percentage points from December 2019 and up by 0.7 percentage points from January 2019. The year-to-year rising unemployment rate can be mainly attributed to labour force expansion outpacing employment growth.
Nova Scotia’s labour force has been on a four-year upward trend since 2016. It grew by 9,200 (+1.9%) to 502,300 from 2018 to 2019. The employment rates of youth (aged 15-24) and core-aged (aged 25-54) reach their peaks (60.4% and 81.6%) since the inception of the modern Labour Force Survey in 1976. The employment rate of older workers (aged 55 and over) also rests at one of its highest points.
Unemployment rate in Nova Scotia continues to drop, resting at 7.2% in 2019, down from 7.5% in 2018 and 8.4% in 2017.
As the largest population center, Halifax accounts for half of the provincial labour force. Its labour market also outperforms other economic regions’. Cape Breton, on the other hand, continues to fall behind with the highest unemployment rate (13.3% vs provincial average 7.2%) and the lowest employment rate (47.5% vs provincial average 57.7%).