Unemployment Rate by Province

Nova Scotia’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from 9.1% in 2013 to 9.0% in 2014 because the number of people available to work decreased faster than employment. Nova Scotia continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in Atlantic Canada, although it was above those of the remaining provinces. The unemployment rate in Nova Scotia continues to be higher for males than females. The unemployment rate for males increase 0.1 percentage points from 10.5% in 2013 to 10.6% in 2014. On the other hand, the unemployment rate for females decreased from 7.5% in 2013 to 7.2% in 2014.

Unemployment Rates by Province
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (LFS), CANSIM Table 282-0002, Accessed April, 2014.  (Data)

Age Groups

In Nova Scotia and Canada, youth tend to have the highest unemployment rates among the different age groups. The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years in Nova Scotia declined from 18.3% in 2013 to 17.8% in 2014 yet remained the highest in the country. The unemployment rates for those aged 15 to 19 caused the overall decline in the youth unemployment; their unemployment rate declined from 23.9%  to 21.8% , which offset the slight increase, from 15.2%  to 15.5% , for youth ages 20 to 24.  Older age groups, with the exception of the 60 to 64 years age group, had the highest increases in unemployment rates. The unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percentage points for the 55 to 59 age group and by one percentage point for the 65 years and over age group. Comparing by broader age groups, the unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points for workers aged 55 years and over while it decreased by 0.2 percentage points for those aged 54 years and below. Unemployment rates for older workers remained relatively low compared to those of younger age groups. The lowest unemployment rate in Nova Scotia was among those aged 25 to 59 years at 7.3%.

Unemployment Rates by Age Group
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (LFS), CANSIM Table 282-0002, Accessed April, 2015. (Data)

Location of Study

In Nova Scotia, those with a postsecondary education (PSE) had a lower unemployment rate (7.4%) in 2011, than the provincial unemployment rate. Unemployment rates differ across different types of postsecondary education and where the PSE credential was obtained. Overall, those with a postsecondary education credential obtained in Nova Scotia had a higher unemployment rate than those who obtained their PSE outside Nova Scotia. This trend is influenced by those who had a postsecondary education credential below a bachelor level degree. PSE credentials below a bachelor’s level degree that were obtained in Nova Scotia had higher unemployment rates than credentials obtained outside Nova Scotia. However, PSE credentials higher than a bachelor level degree obtained in Nova Scotia had lower unemployment rates with the exception of those with a degree in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or optometry. The largest positive difference in unemployment rates between PSE credentials obtained in and outside Nova Scotia was between those with a Master’s degree. Generally, this means in 2011, finding a job was easier for those who obtained a Master’s degree in Nova Scotia compared to those that obtained it outside Nova Scotia. On the other hand, the largest negative difference was between those with Apprenticeship or Trades credentials which means generally, it was easier for those who obtained Trades/Apprenticeship credentials outside Nova Scotia to find a job in Nova Scotia. It is important to note, there might be other explanations other than location of study that might contribute to these differences.

Unemployment Rates by Education
Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) (Data) * All age groups with PSE as highest educational attainment

Employment Insurance (EI)

The seasonally-adjusted number of Nova Scotians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits has been falling steadily since peaking in the summer of 2009. September 2014 had the lowest number of regular beneficiaries in Nova Scotia since April of 2008. While the number of employment insurance beneficiaries has dipped lower than the prerecession levels, the number of unemployed people has remained elevated. The average length of time that people remain unemployed has also stayed constant since 2010 and currently stands at 19 weeks. The gap between people who are unemployed and those receiving employment insurance benefits has been increasing since early 2012.

Regular Employment Insurance Beneficiaries
Source: Statistics Canada, Employment Insurance program (EI), CANSIM Table 276-0022, seasonally adjusted, monthly (persons), Accessed April, 2015. 
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (LFS), CANSIM Table 282-0087 Accessed April, 2015.