This Labour Market Bulletin provides an analysis of Labour Force Survey results for the province of Quebec and its regions.
According to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey estimates for 2018, employment grew in Quebec for a fifth consecutive year. In fact, the Quebec labour market had 38,900 additional jobs in comparison to 2017, amounting to a 0.9% increase. The rate of growth was however slower in comparison to the previous year: the growth rate reached 2.2% in 2017–a particularly exceptional year for the Quebec labour market. For 2018, the rate of employment growth was lower than in Ontario (1.6%) and in Canada as a whole (1.3%). In Quebec, full-time employment rose by 61,300 jobs (+1.8%), while part-time employment saw a decline (-22,300 jobs or -2.7%). The majority of jobs were added in the 55 and over age group, while 15-24 year-olds and 25-54 year-olds saw more modest employment gains (2,400 jobs and 7,600 jobs, respectively).
|2018||2017||2016||2017 to 2018||2016 to 2017|
|Population 15 + ('000)||6,985.9||6,931.9||6,887.9||54.0||0.8||44.0||0.6|
|Labour Force ('000)||4,509.5||4,495.7||4,448.3||13.8||0.3||47.4||1.1|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.5||6.1||7.1||-0.6||-||-1.0||-|
|Participation rate (%)||64.6||64.9||64.6||-0.3||-||0.3||-|
|Employment rate (%)||61.0||60.9||60.0||0.1||-||0.9||-|
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey – Table 14-10-0018
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|Unemployment rate (%)||Employment ('000)|
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As the labour force grew at a slower pace than the working-age population, the participation rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point and settled at 64.6%, a rate identical to the figure for 2016. The unemployment rate posted a 0.6 percentage point decrease in 2018, due to an increase in the number of employed people. At 5.5%, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 1976, when LFS data were first published. Finally, the employment rate gained 0.1 percentage point in comparison to 2017, settling at 61.0%, which was a historical peak for an annual figure since 1976. Moreover, for the first time in 43 years, the employment rate in Quebec was higher than in Ontario (60.9%).
The unemployment rate for 15-24 year-olds decreased by 0.8 percentage point and reached 9.5%. This decline benefited primarily 15-24 year-old women, whose unemployment rate fell from 9.5% to 7.7% in 2018, while the rate for 15-24 year-old men rose slightly, by 0.1 percentage point, reaching 11.3%. For both sexes combined, the employment rate increased by 1.2 percentage point, reaching 61.0%, a historical peak for a yearly figure since data were first published in 1976. Here again, the increase benefited women, as their employment rate rose from 60.8% to 63.2%, thanks to a significant growth in the number of employed women in this group, while the employment rate for 15-24 year-old men lost 0.1 percentage point and settled at 58.9%. However, it must be mentioned that the increase of the employment rate for women in this age group was accompanied by a decline in their full-time school attendance rate1.
People age 25-54 represent the most active group in the labour market. In 2018, their unemployment rate fell by 0.6 percentage point, reaching 4.7%. The unemployment rate for men (-0.8 percentage point) and women (-0.5 percentage point) in this age group decreased over the past year. The employment rate for 25-54 year-olds, both sexes combined, gained 0.2 percentage point, reaching 84.6%, another historical peak for an annual figure (last 43 years). An increase in the employment rate was registered for women in this age group (+0.3 percentage point), while it remained stable for men, at 86.3%.
Finally, the unemployment rate for the 55 and over age group decreased by 0.2 percentage point, settling at 5.5%. This indicator increased by 0.1 percentage point for men, while it fell by 0.5 percentage point for women in comparison to 2017. The employment rate for the 55 and over age group, both sexes combined, gained 0.3 percentage point, reaching 32.6%, thanks to a significant growth of the employed workforce in this age group. The employment rate for women age 55 and over increased by 0.4 percentage point. However, it remained much lower than the rate for men age 55 and over (27.4% in comparison to 38.2%).
|2017 to 2018
|2016 to 2017
|25 years and over||4.9||5.4||6.2||-0.5||-0.8|
|Men - 25 years and over||5.1||5.7||7.0||-0.6||-1.3|
|Women - 25 years and over||4.6||5.1||5.2||-0.5||-0.1|
|15 to 24 years||9.5||10.3||12.7||-0.8||-2.4|
|Men - 15 to 24 years||11.3||11.2||15.2||0.1||-4.0|
|Women - 15 to 24 years||7.7||9.5||10.3||-1.8||-0.8|
In 2018, the total population aged 15 and over in Quebec was 6.9 million. The Indigenous population off-reserve accounted for 1.5% of this total, or 103,700 persons. During 2018, 60,100 people in the Indigenous population were employed, corresponding to a significant increase of 8,300 jobs (+16.0%) year over year. This growth can be explained mainly by a gain in full-time employment (+6,500 or 15.6%).
The unemployment rate for the Indigenous population fell from 8.7% in 2017 to 7.1% in 2018, a 1.6 percentage point decrease. This rate also decreased for the non-Indigenous population, at 5.5% (a 0.5 percentage point decrease since the previous year). In 2018, the participation rate for the Indigenous population increased by 5.9 percentage point year over year and stood at 62.3%, while the rate for the non-Indigenous population stood at 64.6, amounting to a slight decrease (-0.3 percentage point) in comparison to 2017. Finally, the employment rate for the Indigenous population increased in 2018 (+6.4 percentage points), reaching 57.9% while this rate remained unchanged for the non-Indigenous population year over year, at 61.0%.
Seasonally unadjusted data
|Indigenous||Yearly variation (Indigenous)||Non-Indigenous||Yearly variation (non-Indigenous)|
|Population 15 + ('000)||103.7||100.5||3.2||3.2||6,882.3||6,831.5||50.8||0.7|
|Labour force ('000)||64.6||56.7||7.9||13.9||4,444.1||4,435.7||8.4||0.2|
|Unemployment rate (%)||7.1||8.7||-1.6||-||5.5||6.0||-0.5||-|
|Participation rate (%)||62.3||56.4||5.9||-||64.6||64.9||-0.3||-|
|Employment rate (%)||57.9||51.5||6.4||-||61.0||61.0||0.0||-|
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - ESDC custom table.
Employment by industry
The goods-producing sector accounts for 20.2% of jobs, while this proportion reached 29.8% 30 years ago. Employment in this sector grew for a third consecutive year, but did not reach 2014 levels. In 2018, this sector had 3,200 additional jobs in comparison to the previous year, amounting to a 0.4% growth rate. The construction industry (+3,800 jobs or +1.5%) posted the most significant increase among the subsectors of the goods-producing sector, boosted by a strong growth in the value of building permits. Employment in the forestry, fishing and mining industry increased by 8.6% (+3,100 jobs), at a slightly slower pace than in the previous year (+5,000 jobs). The first half of 2018 was positive for the forestry industry due to rising prices, while the mining industry benefited from a year that was favourable for investments. Finally, utilities also posted significant employment growth (+1,400 jobs or +5.6%).
Two subsectors of the goods-producing industry saw employment levels decrease in comparison to 2017. First, following a first decline in 2017, manufacturing lost 3,900 jobs (-0.8%). Several manufacturing industries experienced heightened uncertainty linked to US measures limiting trade. Finally, employment declined in agriculture (-1,200 jobs or -2.1%).
The services sector added 35,800 jobs in 2018, amounting a to a 1.1% growth rate. This performance was primarily attributable to three industries: health care and social assistance (+13,600 jobs), transportation and warehousing (+10,800 jobs) and business services, building services and other support services (+10,300 jobs). Employment levels fell in only four industries: information, culture and recreation (-5,400 jobs), retail and wholesale trade (-5,000), accommodation and food services (-1,900 jobs) and, to a lesser degree, professional, scientific and technical services (-600 jobs).
|2018||2017||2016||2017 to 2018||2016 to 2017|
|Total employed, all industries||4,262.2||4,223.3||4,133.1||38.9||0.9||90.2||2.2|
|Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas||39.3||36.2||31.2||3.1||8.6||5.0||16.0|
|Transportation and warehousing||217.6||206.8||195.6||10.8||5.2||11.2||5.7|
|Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing||240.3||233.8||216.0||6.5||2.8||17.8||8.2|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||327.6||328.2||311.9||-0.6||-0.2||16.3||5.2|
|Business, building and other support services||192.1||181.8||182.0||10.3||5.7||-0.2||-0.1|
|Health care and social assistance||591.3||577.7||581.8||13.6||2.4||-4.1||-0.7|
|Information, culture and recreation||179.9||185.3||179.5||-5.4||-2.9||5.8||3.2|
|Accommodation and food services||270.5||272.4||284.0||-1.9||-0.7||-11.6||-4.1|
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey – Table 14-10-0023
Resource Regions refer to the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord/Nord-du-Québec regions, and represent 8.9% of employment in Quebec. Overall employment levels remained similar between 2017 and 2018 for these regions. Two regions experienced employment growth: Bas-Saint-Laurent (+6,700 jobs or +7.9%) and, to a lesser degree, Abitibi-Témiscamingue (+1,400 jobs or +1.9%). Conversely, employment losses were registered in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (-5,000 jobs or -3.9%), Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine (-2,700 jobs or -7.3%) and, to a lesser degree, in Côte-Nord/Nord-du-Québec (-400 jobs or -0.7%). Three resource regions posted lower unemployment rates than Quebec as a whole (5.5%): Abitibi-Témiscamingue (3.8%), Côte-Nord/Nord-du-Québec (4.9%) and Bas-Saint-Laurent (5.4%). However, only Abitibi-Témiscamingue had a higher employment rate than Quebec as a whole (63.6% in comparison to 61.0% for Quebec).
The Centre-du-Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie and Mauricie regions make up the Intermediary Regions and represent 14.5% of employment in Quebec. Overall employment levels rose by 6,300 jobs in Intermediary Regions in 2018, thanks to employment gains in Chaudière-Appalaches (+6,000 jobs or +2.8%) and in Estrie (+5,000 jobs or +3.2%). However, Centre-du-Québec (-3,800 jobs or -3.1%) and, to a lesser degree, Mauricie (-900 jobs or -0.8%), saw employment declines over one year. Unemployment rate decreases were registered in all Intermediary Regions. This decline was most significant in Mauricie, at -0.9 percentage point, settling at 5.1% due to a decline in the labour force.
Greater Montréal Area and surrounding areas
The Greater Montréal Area includes, besides Montréal, the Lanaudière, Laurentides, Laval and Montérégie regions and represents 62.5% of employment in Quebec. In 2018, overall employment levels in the Greater Montréal Area increased by 36,600 jobs. Only one region posted an employment decline: Lanaudière, where 8,600 jobs were lost (-3.3%). Employment rose sharply in Montréal (+22,600 jobs or +2.2%), Laval (+17,100 jobs or +7.8) and in Laurentides (+5,500 jobs or +1.8%), while it remained stable in Montérégie. The unemployment rate increased solely in the Lanaudière region, by 0.2 percentage point, and reached 5.8%. Other regions experienced unemployment rate decreases, the most significant occurring in Laval (-1.4 percentage point, settling at 5.3%).
The Capitale-Nationale and Outaouais regions make up the Capitals. Their employment levels went in opposite directions in 2018. Outaouais posted an increase of 2,900 jobs (+1.4%) while Capitale-Nationale registered a decline of 6,800 jobs (-1.7%). Both regions experienced unemployment rate decreases: due to employment growth in the Outaouais region (-0.7 percentage point, settling at 4.9%), and due to a decline of the labour force in Capitale-Nationale (-0.6 percentage point, settling at 4.1%).
|Employment ('000)||2018||2017||2016||2017 to 2018||2016 to 2017|
|Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec||54.5||54.9||53.9||-0.4||-0.7||1.0||1.9|
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey – Table 14-10-0090
Show data table
|Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec||-0.7%|
In preparing this document, the authors have taken care to provide clients with labour market information that is timely and accurate at the time of publication. Since labour market conditions are dynamic, some of the information presented here may have changed since this document was published. Users are encouraged to also refer to other sources for additional information on the local economy and labour market. Information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect official policies of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Prepared by: Labour Market Analysis Directorate, Service Canada, Quebec
For further information, please contact the LMI team.
For information on the Labour Force Survey, please visit the Statistics Canada website.