Employment in Quebec increased in 2016, while the unemployment rate fell to the lowest it’s been since 1976

Montréal, March 1, 2017 – Quebec recorded employment gains of roughly 36 000 in 2016, a 0.9% increase from 2015; this growth is similar to that of the previous year. The rise in employment benefited more women (+ 24 000) than men (+ 12 000). Employment gains in Quebec in 2016 were found primarily among people aged 55 and over, maintaining the trend of the past few years. These are among the main findings of the publication État du marché du travail au Québec. Bilan de l’année 2016 made public today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec based on data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

The goods-producing sector remained stable in 2016 after losing close to 50 000 jobs over the last two years combined. The services-producing sector continued to grow with 29 000 more jobs in 2016. However, the increase is half of what it was in 2015 (+ 63 000). Non-unionized jobs continued to rise while union presence was at its lowest level since 1997 (38.6%).

Full-time employment prevailed

For the second year in a row, employment growth in Quebec was due to the increase in full-time jobs (+ 53 700). Furthermore, Quebec had the highest full-time employment growth out of all Canadian provinces in 2016.

The unemployment rate dropped to its lowest since 1976

The unemployment rate decreased by half a percentage point and stood at 7.1% in 2016 – the lowest in 40 years (1976). Unemployment among immigrants fell below the 10% mark for the first time since this data became available (2006).

Quebecers’ weekly work hours remained relatively unchanged from 2015, recorded at 34.9 hours in 2016. The average hourly wage (+ 2.8%) rose faster than inflation (+ 0.7%).

The publication État du marché du travail au Québec. Bilan de l’année 2016 provides an overview of labour market conditions in the whole of Canada and in the other provinces.It also includes a section on Quebec’s administrative regions and on the immigrant population.

Employment variations: how to interpret the different indicators

By combining information on a number of consecutive months, as the Institut did for this publication, we can draw more accurate statistical conclusions on the rate of employment growth. The standard error associated with the change in the average employment variation calculated over 12 months is smaller than that based solely on the variation between the current reference month and the previous one. This is all the more the case if we compare the reference month with the same reference month 12 months earlier. Therefore, one must interpret the information as follows to take into account the relative accuracy of these indicators:

  • On average, it is estimated that employment grew by 36 100 in 2016 compared to 2015. When taking into account the standard error, it can be stated with a 95% confidence level that the actual value of average employment growth for this period was between 26 100 and 46 100;
  • In December 2016, it was estimated that employment grew by 90 800 compared to 2015. When taking into account the standard error, it can be stated with a 95% confidence level that the actual value of employment variation was between 26 200 and 155 400.

 


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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