Understanding the October 2023 Labour Report

In the ever-evolving world of workforce management, we find ourselves at a crossroads, with the October 2023 Labour Report from Statistics Canada as our compass. This report tells a compelling story about the state of the Canadian labour market, offering valuable insights that can guide your hiring strategy.

A Stagnant Employment Landscape

The employment landscape in Canada remained relatively unchanged in October. The job market saw a modest increase of 18,000 jobs, representing a mere 0.1% change. However, beneath this surface, a shift in the employment rate emerged. It dropped by 0.1 percentage points to 61.9%, indicating a subtle undercurrent of change.

The Unemployment Rate Increases for the Fourth Time in 6 Months

The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to reach 5.7% in October. This marks the fourth monthly increase in the past six months, a clear sign that job seekers are facing challenges in their quest for employment. The higher unemployment rate also suggests that more individuals are remaining jobless for extended periods, highlighting the evolving dynamics of the labour market and a strong immigration policy that is bringing in more workers than the market can easily absorb.

Sectoral Shifts and the Variability of Job Creation

While the job market remained relatively stable, some sectors experienced significant changes. In October, we observed notable growth in the construction (+23,000; +1.5%) and information, culture, and recreation sectors (+21,000; +2.5%). On the flip side, the wholesale and retail trade (-22,000; -0.7%), as well as manufacturing (-19,000; -1.0%) saw a decrease in employment. The influences of rising labour costs, increasing costs in goods and logistics as well as the cost of borrowing are starting to see an impact on the overall economy and the early signs that inflation may be waning.

Provincial Insights

Similar to the labour market sectors, employment across the country varied. Employment rose in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in October, while Quebec recorded a decline. Understanding these regional shifts allows you to tailor your hiring strategies to align with changing dynamics.

Underneath stable labour statistics some groups fair better than others

In October's labour statistics, employment among men aged 55 and older saw a noteworthy increase, with 31,000 more individuals finding work, marking a 1.3% rise. This uptick represents the first positive change in employment for this demographic since April. However, it's a different story for women aged 55 and older, as their employment remained unchanged during the same period. Meanwhile, employment among core-aged individuals, ranging from 25 to 54 years old, experienced little change in October. Although there was a slight increase of 28,000 full-time jobs for core-aged women (18-55), this was counterbalanced by a decrease of 24,000 part-time positions within the same group, resulting in an overall stability. For those aged 15 to 24, employment remained largely unchanged, with a modest increase of 14,000 jobs for male youth primarily concentrated in part-time roles. However, female youth experienced a decrease of 19,000 positions, particularly in full-time work, offsetting the gains made by their male counterparts. These employment trends shed light on the diverse experiences of different age and gender groups in the Canadian labour market.

Securing Employment is Harder to Attain than One Year Ago

In October, the number of unemployed individuals surged to 1.2 million, marking a significant increase of 171,000 (+16.2%) since April. Notably, among those who were jobless in September, a substantial 60.1% remained unemployed in October. This figure represents a higher proportion compared to the same period a year ago when it stood at 55.4% (not seasonally adjusted). This trend serves as a clear indication that job seekers are currently facing greater challenges in securing employment than they did a year ago.

Understanding the labour market to hire smarter

These findings should inform your hiring strategy for the remainder of the year:

Adapting Hiring Strategies: As the labour market evolves, consider adapting your hiring strategies. Offering competitive wages and benefits is crucial to attract and retain the best talent in a competitive job market.

Targeted Recruitment: Focus on targeted recruitment efforts in sectors experiencing growth, such as construction and information, culture, and recreation. Flexibility in response to changing trends is key.

Employee Value Proposition: Creating or fine-tuning your employee value proposition is a strategic tactic to attract or retain employees. A robust and engaging value proposition can’t replace a fair salary but things like work flexibility, internal mobility, coaching programs, professional development, as well as recognition and rewards can make an impact for candidates.

Regional Considerations: Be aware of regional variations in employment trends and adapt your hiring efforts accordingly. Diversify your strategy to align with regional changes.

Salary Negotiation: Be prepared for wage negotiations in a market where average hourly wages are on the rise. Candidates may seek competitive compensation, so it's essential to have a strategy in place.


"In a market that appears to be flooding with candidates for the first time since the pandemic, those possessing sought-after skills and pertinent work backgrounds continue to secure employment swiftly," states Craig Brown, CEO of Agilus Work Solutions. "For hiring managers navigating these competitive markets, moving quickly and making a compelling offer are still essential to attract top talent.”

The October 2023 Labour Report provides an insight into the current landscape and a glimpse at what the next few months might look like. Navigating the ever-changing labour market requires adaptability and strategic foresight. As you move forward, consider adjusting your hiring strategies to offer competitive wages and benefits, target sectors with growth, and support the emerging workforce.

The labour market may have its twists and turns, but with the right recruitment partner, your organization can thrive in this evolving economy. With our extensive 46-year track record, 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.

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

See all