Canadian economy adds 95,000 jobs in May

Canada’s surprisingly strong job creation defies most predictions

Peter Harris|

The Canadian economy has surprised most economists and even Workopolis predictions for job creation by adding a staggering 95,000 new jobs in May, according to Statistics Canada. Experts had been expecting only modest growth of 10,000-15,000 new jobs being added to the labour market.

It has been over a decade since the Canadian economy added this many jobs in a single month. In further good news, most of these were full-time, private sector jobs.

Given the relatively flat number of online job postings across the country in April, we at Workopolis were anticipating seeing more modest job growth last month. However, the good news labour report for May could be the beginning of a good news trend – job postings were up across the board in May, which should indicate a second month of strong job numbers coming for June.

May’s surprisingly strong job creation brings the overall national unemployment rate down to 7.1%. Year over year, there are over 250,000 more people working in full time jobs than in May of 2012.


Employment in Canada’s largest province increased by 51,000 jobs last month, with large gains in full-time work partly offset by losses in part-time work. This brings the Ontario unemployment rate down to 7.3%, the lowest it’s been since November 2008.

Employment in Quebec was also up by 20,000 in May, offsetting declines earlier in the year. The unemployment rate in that province is 7.7%.

In Alberta, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 19,000 in May. Despite this gain, the unemployment rate for the province was up 0.4 percentage points to 4.8% as more people began looking for work.

The number of workers in New Brunswick rose by 3,700 in May, offsetting the decline in April. The unemployment rate for the province was 10.5% in May.

Following job losses in April, employment in Manitoba was up by 3,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate was 5.7%.

Saskatchewan saw little change in the overall number of jobs for the fourth straight month.

By sector

The number of people working in construction was up by 43,000 in May, and jobs in retail and wholesale trade also increased by 27,000.

Employment in “other services,” such as repair and maintenance or private household services, increased by 22,000 jobs last month, and the number of workers in business, building and other support services rose by 21,000 in May.

Looking ahead

After several months of relatively flat hiring, Workopolis saw an increase in online job postings during the month of May. This should correspond with more people working over the month of June.  The number of online job postings was up in May in every area of the country in with a possible exception of Quebec. That province saw a slight decline in hiring.

This increase in job postings in May is fairly evenly distributed across industries, with no clear sector standing out.


- Peter Harris

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