Nova Scotia Labour Market Information: June 2022 – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
Nova Scotia Labour Market Information: June 2022

An Update from Service Canada

Employment has been on an upward trend in recent months in Nova Scotia, despite a decline in May 2022. Through the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, employment rose by 5,300. Most of the added employment was in part-time work (+4,100). The unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged, dropping in Q2 to 6.6%, from 6.7% in the previous quarter. In April 2022, Nova Scotia’s unemployment rate was 6.0%, the lowest rate observed since at least 1976.

June data reflect labour market conditions during the June 12 to 18 reference week. The virus was still spreading in the province but gathering limits and restrictions on businesses were virtually nonexistent.

Compared to Q2 2021, Nova Scotia’s labour market has improved considerably. Employment has risen by 23,600, chiefly full-time jobs. The unemployment rate has also fallen from 8.8% to 6.6%. The size of Nova Scotia’s labour force grew slightly over the past year, leading to Nova Scotia’s labour force participation rate increasing from 61.1% in the second quarter of 2021 to 61.4% in the second quarter of 2022. Nova Scotia experienced record growth in the working-age population, up by 17,900 since Q2 2021, many of which joined the labour force in search of work (13,400).

Labour force changes over the past year have been even across broad age groups and among females and males. Employment levels rose for males and females over the past year (Q2 2021 to Q2 2022), with males accounting for about half of the 23,600 jobs added. Males also accounted for two-thirds of the 17,600 jobs added compared with the pre-pandemic period (Q4 2019). Despite employment gains, males’ unemployment rates remain above those of females in Nova Scotia, though this gap has narrowed since before the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the male unemployment rate in Q4 2019 was 9.4%; meanwhile, it was 6.9% for females. In the most recent quarter (Q2 2022), the male unemployment rate was 7.5%, compared to 5.6% for females.

Compared with the second quarter of 2021 (Q2), all broad age groups experienced employment gains. Although there was 4,200 more employed youth (aged 15-24 years of age), resulting in a noticeable improvement in the youth unemployment rate to 11.8%, down from 14.5% in the second quarter of 2021. Youth constituted a larger share of employment in industries that were hardest hit during the pandemic, like retail and wholesale trade and accommodations and food services. There was 2,600 youth who entered the Nova Scotia labour force over the last year, while the population of Nova Scotian youth rose by half that amount. The larger increase in the youth labour force compared to population growth resulted in a jump in the youth participation rate from 66.7% in Q2 2021 to 68.3% in Q2 2022.

The largest employment gains over the past year occurred among the core-age workforce (aged 25-54 years of age). Employment rose by 12,700, and all the gains were in full-time work. Despite strong employment gains, however, the labour force participation rate for core-aged workers declined over the past year by 0.7 percentage points to 86.2% in Q2 2022. At the same time, the core-age population grew by 9,600, with 6,000 of those joining the labour force in search of work.

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Regional Information

In Q2 2022, employment rose in four of Nova Scotia’s economic regions compared with the same period in 2021. Employment in the Cape Breton economic region rose by 4,700 over the past year. However, employment remains 1,800 below the pre-pandemic level (Q4 2019). Higher employment resulted in a decline in the unemployment rate to 12.9% from 14.2% in the same period a year ago. The labour force in the region grew by 4,600 people in search of work over the last year even though the working-age population only grew by 800. This resulted in the labour force participation rate rising dramatically from 50.5% to 54.3%. Despite the large jump, it remains below the level observed prior to the pandemic. Employment gains were widespread among industries. The largest gains were in the health care and social assistance and wholesale and retail trade industries. The largest employment declines were in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas.

The North Shore economic region experienced a decline in employment of 2,000 over the past year. At the same time, a moderate amount of people exited the labour force (-1,600) and were no longer in search of work. As a result of more people losing employment, the unemployment rate increased to 8.2% in Q2 2022 from 7.5% in Q2 2021. Employment increases were largest in the construction and health care and social assistance industry over the past year. The largest employment declines were in wholesale and retail trade.

The Annapolis Valley economic region experienced large employment gains over the past year, of 5,600. As a result of more persons working, the unemployment rate declined to 4.8%, well below the rate of 8.5% observed in the same quarter of 2021. The region’s labour force grew by 3,500 over the last year. Employment gains in the Annapolis Valley economic region were widespread among industries. The largest gain occurred in the professional, scientific and technical services industry, up by 1,300 over the past year. The largest employment decline was in agriculture (-600).

The Southern economic region experienced a modest employment decline of 1,600 over the past year. At the same time, the region lost 1,600 people in its labour force. As a result of these two factors, the unemployment rate only experienced a slight upward tick to 7.3% in Q2 2022 from 7.0% a year earlier. Employment is above pre- pandemic levels in the region, while unemployment is below. The largest employment change over the last year was an increase in employment of 1,500 in the health care and social assistance industry. The largest employment declines were in manufacturing (-1,600).

Employment levels in the Halifax economic region rose by 17,800 compared with a year ago. The region has experienced strong employment gains (+18,600) compared with pre-pandemic levels. Despite strong gains in the working-age population compared with Q2 2021, there was only a moderate increase in the region’s labour force (+7,400). As a result of employment growing far quicker than the labour force, the unemployment rate declined to 4.7% in Q2 2022. A year earlier, the unemployment rate was 8.8%. Compared with pre-pandemic levels, the working-age population has risen by 22,600 and the size of the labour force has grown by 13,900. Employment changes over the past year varied by industry. Over the last year, strong employment growth was observed in the wholesale and retail trade; professional, scientific and technical services and accommodation and food services industries. On the other hand, there were relatively large employment declines observed in this region in transportation and warehousing, and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas industries.

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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