Nova Scotia Labour Market Information: July 2021 – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
Nova Scotia Labour Market Information: July 2021

August 23, 2021

An Update from Service Canada

Employment increased by 3,700 in Nova Scotia in July as the provincial labour market continued to rebound from the May lockdown, albeit at a slower pace than in June. The job growth was all full-time in nature and outpaced the expansion of the labour force. This reduced the number of unemployed jobseekers and drove the unemployment rate down from 9.0% to 8.4%.

One year ago, the provincial labour market was in the midst of a recovery from the record plunge in employment caused by the first round of COVID-19 containment measures. As a result, year-over-year changes appear very favourable— there was a 6.8% increase in employment and a 2.4 percentage point (pp) decrease in the unemployment rate. The present level of employment, however, remains somewhat lower than values posted both before the pandemic and during the first four months of 2021.

All other labour market indicators have also improved markedly since July 2020. The working age population has continued to increase, though this growth has been heavily concentrated in the older worker (55 years and older) age group. The labour force expanded by 3.9% year-over-year, employment gains accrued to both full- and part-time positions, and the participation rate increased by 1.8%.

By broad age group, youth (15 to 24 years of age) experienced the greatest improvement in labour market outcomes on both an annual and monthly basis. This reflects the disproportionate effect that containment measures have had on this age bracket throughout the pandemic, as they tend to be overrepresented in harder-hit industries such as retail trade and accommodation and food services. The number of employed youth increased by 11.9% year-over-year but remains well below the pre-pandemic levels observed in late 2019 and early 2020. The youth unemployment rate also dropped substantially over the past year, from 20.3% to 14.0%.

The prime working-age group experienced a relatively lower drop in employment during lockdown periods and correspondingly had less of a rebound: 4.3% since last July. Meanwhile, the number of older workers reached the highest level on record this month, far surpassing pre-pandemic levels. This increase has been driven in large part by the growing size of this age group, which is the result of large numbers of residents reaching the age of 55 as well as interprovincial migration trends. However, the labour force participation rate of this age group has also edged up, contributing to an overall annual employment increase of 10.7%.

Female job gains have accounted for a bit more than half of all employment growth observed over the past year among youth and prime working-aged individuals. This has helped to narrow the gap between male and female employment that has emerged during periods of stricter containment measures through the pandemic.

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Regional Information

Employment in the Cape Breton economic region increased by 3.1% over the past year, the majority of which was part-time in nature. During the same period, the labour force shrank by 1,000 individuals. The net effect of these two changes was a sizeable drop of the number of unemployed jobseekers (-2,500) and of the unemployment rate, which fell from 16.7% to 12.6%. The region’s participation rate was the lowest in the province by several percentage points this month. Job growth was led by gains in the public administration industry, followed by forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas and accommodation and food services.

The number of workers in the North Shore economic region jumped by 17.6% year-over-year, the largest relative increase in the province. Nearly three-quarters of the additional employment was in full-time work. The effect of this job growth on the unemployment rate was limited somewhat by a significant expansion of the labour force, which grew by 7,300 individuals. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate declined from 13.3% to 7.4%. All but four industries experienced job growth over the past year, with the largest gains occurring in the wholesale and retail trade industry. The number of workers in the accommodations and food services industry declined, however.

Similar to the North Shore, the Annapolis Valley region experienced a large expansion of the labour force (+5,500), which was outpaced by even faster job growth (+6,200). More than five-in-six of the added jobs were full-time. As a result, the unemployment rate slipped from 10.6% to 8.4%. The greatest employment increase occurred in the wholesale and retail trade industry, followed by educational services, while the number of workers in the public administration industry went down.

Employment in the Southern economic region went up by 6.1% in the past year, all of which was part-time in nature. The labour force grew at a much slower pace, 0.4%, resulting in little change to the participation rate. The unemployment rate declined by 5.1 pp to 7.1%. Job gains occurred in the majority of industries, led by the health care and social assistance and professional, scientific, and technical services industries. The number of workers in the wholesale and retail trade industry declined.

The Halifax economic region experienced solid employment growth over the past 12 months, adding 12,800 workers (+5.8%), approximately three-quarters of added positions were full-time. The participation rate for the Halifax region, consistently the highest in the province, rose to 67.7% as the labour force expanded at a faster pace than the working-age population. The unemployment rate went down from 10.8% to 8.6%. The professional, scientific, and technical services industry added the most jobs over the past year, followed closely by transportation and warehousing. The construction industry also added 3,400 workers, as population growth and an exceptionally tight housing market supported residential investment. On the other hand, employment in the information, culture, and recreation industry went down by 1,100.

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Prepared by: Labour Market Analysis Directorate, Service Canada, Atlantic Region
For further information: please contact the LMI team
For information on the Labour Force Survey: please visit the Statistics Canada Website