January's Labour Report signals the labour market hasn’t hit the breaks yet.

As we delve into 2024, the Canadian job market exhibits signs of both resilience and transformation. The January Labour Report from Statistics Canada offers valuable insights that can guide employers in navigating these shifts effectively. At Agilus, we recognize the importance of understanding and staying ahead in these dynamic times, so our clients are well-positioned to attract the best talent when you need it. 

Here are the key statistics and tailored advice for employers:

Employment Growth and Rate:
The January Labour report marked a positive turn with a growth of 37,000 jobs (0.2%) after three months of stagnation with a notable rise in part-time work (+49,000; +1.3%). The employment rate, representing the proportion of the working-age population employed, declined to 61.6% (-0.1 percentage points) for the fourth consecutive month. Despite this growth, the employment rate fell to 61.6%, a 0.1 percentage point decrease, as population growth outpaced employment growth.

Unemployment Rate Falls:
The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.7%, the first decline since December 2022. For context, the unemployment rate had been on an upward trend through most of 2023, rising from 5.1% in April to 5.8% in December.

Sectorial Highlights:
As we expected, the services-producing sector saw employment gains, with notable increases in wholesale and retail trade (+31,000) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing (+28,000). Conversely, accommodation and food services experienced a decline of 30,000 jobs, reflecting a 2.7% decrease. This aligns with expectations of a bumpy year for labour markets depending on the sector. In further detail, there were increases in educational services (+28,000; +1.8%), transportation and warehousing (+20,000; +1.9%), business, building and other support services (+16,000; +2.4%) and public administration (+16,000; +1.3%) in January 2024. Employment rose in finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing (+28,000; +2.1%) and information, culture, and recreation (-13,000; -1.5%). These increases were partially offset by declines in professional, scientific, and technical services.

Private sector employment and self-employed workers remained relatively stable in January. In contrast public sector employment increased by 48,000 (+1.1%) after two months of minimal change. Comparing year-over-year figures, public sector employment saw a substantial increase of 4.1% (+174,000), private sector employment rose by 1.6% (+210,000), while self-employed workers experienced little change.

Demographic Employment Insights:

Core-aged women (24-54) and men experienced a decline in employment rates, with core-aged women baring the biggest decline, indicating potential shifts in workforce dynamics. Core-aged women bared most of the decline if you consider the entire year. Employment rate in core-aged women dropped to 81.1%, down by 0.3 percentage points from the previous month and 0.9 percentage points from the high in January and March 2023. For core-aged men, the employment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 87.2% in January 2024, marking a 1.0 percentage point decrease from the recent peak in June 2023.

Among young women aged 15 to 24, the employment rate declined by 0.7 percentage points to 56.0% in January 2024, reflecting a 4.7 percentage point decrease from the high in January 2023. The employment rate for female youth has remained below the pre-COVID-19 pandemic average of 59.9% since May 2023. In contrast, the employment rate for young men held steady at 56.0% in January 2024, with a monthly employment increase of 14,000 (1.0%). However, the employment rate for male youth has generally declined by 2.2 percentage points from January 2023 to January 2024.

Additionally, employment for men aged 55 and older increased by 17,000 (0.7%) in January, partially offsetting the previous month's decline (-23,000). Employment for women aged 55 and older remained relatively unchanged in January.
"The increasing intentions of permanent employees, particularly youth, leaving their jobs is an important trend for businesses in Canada to keep an eye on,” said Craig Brown CEO, Agilus Work Solutions. “The January Labour report confirms that 2024 will not be easy to predict. Employers and hiring managers need to focus on retention and creating attractive roles with fair compensation and upskilling to compete in what continues to be a dynamic labour market.”

February is Black History Month
As part of Black History Month, the Labour Market highlighted the role Black Canadians play in the workforce. In January 2024, they made up 4.4% of the workforce, with higher representation in Ontario (5.6%) and Quebec (5.4%). In 2023, over 21% of Black workers aged 25 to 54 worked in health care and social assistance, exceeding the industry average. However, challenges persist, leading to lower employment rates and wages. In January 2024, the employment rate for Black Canadians aged 25 to 54 dropped to 77.7%, down from 79.8% the previous year, and their average hourly wage was $30.83 compared to $36.27 for the total population. Despite these challenges, there was a positive 5.3% wage growth for Black Canadians from 2022 to 2023, slightly outpacing the 5.0% increase for the overall population. Addressing these disparities is crucial for creating an inclusive and equitable workforce and making your workplace more welcoming for Black Canadians.

Looking Forward
In the world of statistics, numbers tell a story. Behind each statistic lies a profound tale of challenges, progress, and the ever-evolving landscape of employment in Canada. This is why at Agilus we share Statistics Canada’s labour report every month. By delving into the impact of employment rates and trends, we gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie within Canada’s diverse workforce.

Let’s work together to create a labour market where everyone, regardless of their background, has an equal opportunity to thrive. With our extensive 46-year history we have a proven history of assisting employers in finding exceptional candidates and enhancing their hiring strategies. Our team of recruitment and human resource experts across the country is well-equipped to guide your business through the uncertainties of the current economic landscape, help you develop a compelling Employee Value Proposition, and most importantly – connect you with the right people right away. Take the first step and reach out to us  today to get started on this journey.

Looking for employment? For more than 46 years, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting great job seekers with meaningful employment. We place over 10,000 job seekers in roles every year in Engineering, Technology, Professional/Office, and Light Industrial roles. Check out open roles on our job board, create a job alert or build a profile so our more than 100 recruitment professionals can find you quickly when a role becomes available. Please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for job seeking tips, new roles and Agilus.




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