Employment up and unemployment rate down in December

Montréal, January 5, 2018 – In December, employment grew in Québec (+26,900; +0.6%) and in Canada (+78,600; + 0.4%). The unemployment rate in Québec declined by 0.5 points to under 5.0%, at 4.9%, for the first time since the start of the chronological series in 1976. In Canada, it dropped by 0.2 points to 5.7%. These are the findings of the analysis of employment and labour force data published by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, based on the results of the Labour Force Survey.1

The services-producing sector (+32,400) recorded an increase, whereas the goods-producing sector varied slightly (–5,500).

Québec posted a slightly greater boost in employment than Ontario and Canada in 2017.

In 2017, 4,223,300 people were employed in Québec, 90,200 (+2.2%) more than in 2016 (averages from January to December). The growth in employment is attributable to both full-time employment (+65,400) and part-time employment (+24,700). Employment grew for both men (+64,700) and women (+25,400). However, the rise in employment was apparent only for people 25 years of age or older (+92,700); employment remained stable for young people 15 to 24 years of age (–2,500). The employment rate rose 0.9 points to 60.9%.

Québec (+2.2%) posted employment growth that was slightly higher than Ontario (+1.8%) and Canada as a whole (+1.9%). Québec’s unemployment rate for the year (6.1%) was similar to that of Ontario (6.0%) and Canada (6.3%).

In Québec, the labour force gained 47,400 people (+1.1%) in 2017; the number of unemployed shrank by 42,700 (–13.5%). The participation rate varied little and stood at 64.9% (+0.3 points), whereas the unemployment rate dropped 1 point to 6.1%.

The rise in employment in 2017 was attributable solely to employees (+88,400; +2.5%) and was shared by private-sector employees (+48,500) and public-sector employees (+40,000). As for employment of the self-employed, it remained stable (+1,700).

The growth in employment was concentrated particularly in the services-producing sector (+78,200); the goods-producing sector recorded an increase of 11,900 jobs. The finance, insurance, real estate and leasing industry (+17,800), professional, scientific and technical services (+16 300), educational services (+12,900), trade (+12,500), as well as transportation and warehousing (+11,200) showed the highest growth, while accommodation and food services (–11,600) posted the largest declines.


1. Every month, the Institut de la statistique du Québec publishes the Résultats de l’Enquête sur la population active pour le Québec from data released by Statistics Canada. This document, available on the Institut’s website at 2 p.m., includes an in-depth analysis with tables and charts. The monthly estimates taken from the Labour Force Survey are based on a sample, and are thus subject to a certain variability that is all the more significant when these estimates are broken down by sex, age, region, industry, etc. Monthly estimates also show more variability than trends observed over longer periods of time.

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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  • Marc-André Demers
    Labour Statistics Analyst
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    Institut de la statistique du Québec
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