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Labour Market Update – September 2013

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During the period August 2012 to August 2013 the available labour force declined from 274,800 to 270,100 for a decrease of -4.7%. Interestingly, the number of people employed in the province increased from 240,700 to 242,800 – an increase of 2.1%. This may be related to age and attrition where people are retiring given that the labour force participation rate also dropped during the same period from 64.4% to 62.9%.  It may also be related to outmigration. Between 2011 and 2012, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador saw a decline in population from 512.900 to 512,659 – a decrease of 241 people or .47%. [1] Unemployment rates took a significant dip during this same period – declining from a high of 12.4% in August 2012 to 10.1% in August 2013. This represents a decline of -2.3%.[2]

Over the period 2008 – 2012, the average weekly earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador grew from 765.99 to 927.47 – an increase of approximately 21%. This rate of increase is considerably higher than the other Atlantic Provinces: Nova Scotia (11%), New Brunswick (11%) and PEI (12%). The Labour Force Survey data does not speak directly to the exact causes for the doubling of the average comparative to the rest of the Atlantic Provinces. It is very probable that the increased employment and higher salaries associated with the offshore oil and mining sectors contribute to this disparity.

Wages are increasing, unemployment rates are falling and the available workforce is declining. All of these factors contribute to a continuing and ongoing tightening of the labour force. Employment rates are predicted to grow to a peak by 2015 at a 8.2 % increase but subsequently anticipated to decline by -5.1% by 2020.  Growth is largely the result of major project development in Newfoundland and Labrador and decline a result of the completion of the construction phase of the major projects.  However, when you take into consideration the job vacancies that will be created due to anticipated retirements, 22.4% in construction ad 18.11 % in oil/gas extraction,   this vacancy rate should compensate for the anticipated decline.   Job outlooks for Newfoundland and Labrador are strong.

What does this mean for you?

Consideration must be given to the fact that NL Labour Markets exist within a global labour market.  As demand for skilled workers increase in other jurisdictions, recruitment efforts directed toward skilled labour in the province will increase.  In order to maintain a strong and viable skilled labour force the province must be strategic in supporting continued skill development of its labour market participants.

This means that there will be an ongoing commitment from government to partner with community agencies to ensure a strong and viable labour force.


[1] Annual Estimates of Population for Canada, Provinces and Territories, from July 1, 1971 to July 1, 2012. Economics and Statistics Branch (Newfoundland & Labrador Statistics Agency)

[2] Labour force characteristics, unadjusted, by province (monthly) (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick) Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 282-0001 and Catalogue no. 71-001-XIE.