Labour Market Bulletin - New Brunswick: January 2020

This Labour Market Bulletin provides an analysis of Labour Force Survey results for the province of New Brunswick, including the regions of Campbellton-Miramichi, Edmundston-Woodstock, Fredericton-Oromocto, Moncton-Richibucto, and Saint John-St. Stephen.

Overview

Labour market conditions strenghtened noticeably to start the year, as employment grew by 4,600 in January, adding to the 1,500 job gains a month earlier. Despite being the largest job gain in almost 9 years, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.5% in January, as more than 5,000 persons entered the labour force. The participation rate grew by almost a full percentage point, settling at 61.5% last month. 

New Brunswick monthly labour force statistics
Seasonally adjusted
monthly data
Jan 2020 Dec 2019 Jan 2019 Monthly variation Yearly variation
Number % Number %
Population 15 + ('000) 634.6 634.4 628.9 0.2 0.0 5.7 0.9
Labour force ('000) 390.1 385.0 387.0 5.1 1.3 3.1 0.8
Employment ('000) 360.9 356.3 355.6 4.6 1.3 5.3 1.5
Full-time ('000) 308.6 306.8 303.8 1.8 0.6 4.8 1.6
Part-time ('000) 52.3 49.5 51.8 2.8 5.7 0.5 1.0
Unemployment ('000) 29.2 28.7 31.4 0.5 1.7 -2.2 -7.0
Unemployment rate (%) 7.5 7.5 8.1 0.0 - -0.6 -
Participation rate (%) 61.5 60.7 61.5 0.8 - 0.0 -
Employment rate (%) 56.9 56.2 56.5 0.7 - 0.4 -

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0287

Compared to a year earlier, employment in January has risen by 5,300, the majority of which being full-time work. The unemployment rate fell by 0.6 of a percentage point during the same period. The decline in the jobless rate was contained somewhat by a 3,100 increase in the labour force, which was driven by an increase in the working age population. The participation rate remained unchanged at 61.5%.

New Brunswick monthly employment and unemployment rate
New Brunswick monthly employment and unemployment rate
Show data table: New Brunswick monthly employment and unemployment rate
New Brunswick monthly employment and unemployment rate
Unemployment rate (%) Employment ('000)
Jan 2018 8.8 351.6
Feb 2018 8.0 355.4
Mar 2018 8.0 352.9
Apr 2018 7.9 355.7
May 2018 7.7 355.8
Jun 2018 7.7 354.2
Jul 2018 7.7 354.2
Aug 2018 8.2 352.9
Sep 2018 7.8 354.9
Oct 2018 7.4 353.6
Nov 2018 8.0 355.4
Dec 2018 8.5 352.3
Jan 2019 8.1 355.6
Feb 2019 8.4 356.9
Mar 2019 7.9 359.2
Apr 2019 8.0 355.9
May 2019 7.4 358.4
Jun 2019 7.9 359.1
Jul 2019 8.5 355.1
Aug 2019 8.5 356.9
Sep 2019 8.1 355.6
Oct 2019 8.1 354.7
Nov 2019 7.9 354.8
Dec 2019 7.5 356.3
Jan 2020 7.5 360.9

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey

Job gains since January of last year were observed across all three major age groups. The youth (15 to 24 years) and core (25 to 54 years) working age cohorts each registered year-over-year employment gains of 1,400. The 2,600 rise in employment among older workers (55 years and older) was more pronounced, extending an upward trend that began nearly two decades ago. Conversely, employment among core aged workers has trended downwards for much of that same period. Youth employment, meanwhile, has been relatively flat for close to a decade.

New Brunswick monthly unemployment rates, by gender and age
Seasonally adjusted data Jan 2020 (%) Dec 2019 (%) Jan 2019 (%) Monthly variation
(% points)
Yearly variation
(% points)
Total 7.5 7.5 8.1 0.0 -0.6
25 years and over 7.1 6.8 7.6 0.3 -0.5
Men - 25 years and over 9.0 8.3 8.2 0.7 0.8
Women - 25 years and over 5.0 5.2 7.0 -0.2 -2.0
15 to 24 years 9.8 11.7 11.7 -1.9 -1.9
Men - 15 to 24 years 11.5 12.1 13.8 -0.6 -2.3
Women - 15 to 24 years 7.7 11.3 9.7 -3.6 -2.0

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0287

Employment by industry

Labour market conditions strengthened across both the Goods-producing and Services-producing sectors in January, as employment rose by 1,400 and 3,200, respectively. 

  • Job gains within goods-producing industries in January were concentrated mainly in manufacturing (+700) and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+500). Otherwise, the level of employment was broadly unchanged from a month earlier in the remaining goods-producing industries.
  • Looking at the services-producing sector, job gains were focused primarily among a small subset of industries, which include trade (+1,500), finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (+700), as well as business, building and other support services and transporting and warehousing, which both added 600 new jobs to the labour market. Job losses, meanwhile, were confined mostly to health care and social assistance (-700) and professional, scientific and technical services (-500).

On a year-over-year basis, employment grew noticeably in both the goods-producing (+2,900) and services-producing (+2,400) sectors.

  • Job gains in the goods-producing sector were particularly strong in construction (+1,700) and, to a lesser extent, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+900). The lone industry to register a decline in employment was manufacturing, which shed 800 jobs since January of last year.
  • The year-over-year increase in services-producing sector employment was concentrated mainly in trade (2,700), although job gains were also pronounced in business, building and other support services (+1,500) and professional, scientific and technical services (+1,000). Job losses were limited mostly to accommodation and food services (-2,200) and educational services (-1,000). Employment in health care and social assistance in January is relatively unchanged from a year earlier.
  • When viewed in the bigger context, the apparent stagnation in health care and social assistance employment over the past year is a clear departure from the period of rapid and sustained job gains that occurred between 2015 and 2018, and in which saw the industry add close to 10,000 jobs to the economy. While job gains in health care and social assistance have disappeared, job vacancies have soared consistently. The Job Vacancy and Wage Survey reveals that, at 3.1% in the third quarter of 2019, the job vacancy rate in health care and social assistance has essentially tripled since data collection began in the first quarter of 2015.
New Brunswick monthly labour force statistics, by industry
Seasonally adjusted data ('000) Jan 2020 Dec 2019 Jan 2019 Monthly variation Yearly variation
Number % Number %
Total employed, all industries 360.9 356.3 355.5 4.6 1.3 5.4 1.5
Goods-producing sector 76.7 75.3 73.8 1.4 1.9 2.9 3.9
Agriculture 6.4 6.2 5.8 0.2 3.2 0.6 10.3
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas 10.4 9.9 9.5 0.5 5.1 0.9 9.5
Utilities 3.8 3.7 3.3 0.1 2.7 0.5 15.2
Construction 25.4 25.6 23.7 -0.2 -0.8 1.7 7.2
Manufacturing 30.7 30.0 31.5 0.7 2.3 -0.8 -2.5
Services-producing sector 284.2 281.0 281.8 3.2 1.1 2.4 0.9
Trade 54.4 52.9 51.7 1.5 2.8 2.7 5.2
Transportation and warehousing 18.6 18.0 18.9 0.6 3.3 -0.3 -1.6
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 17.1 16.4 16.3 0.7 4.3 0.8 4.9
Professional, scientific and technical services 16.3 16.8 15.3 -0.5 -3.0 1.0 6.5
Business, building and other support services 17.2 16.6 15.7 0.6 3.6 1.5 9.6
Educational services 26.4 26.0 27.4 0.4 1.5 -1.0 -3.6
Health care and social assistance 59.6 60.3 60.0 -0.7 -1.2 -0.4 -0.7
Information, culture and recreation 12.4 12.1 13.1 0.3 2.5 -0.7 -5.3
Accommodation and food services 20.5 20.7 22.7 -0.2 -1.0 -2.2 -9.7
Other services 15.0 14.4 14.8 0.6 4.2 0.2 1.4
Public administration 26.7 26.7 25.9 0.0 0.0 0.8 3.1

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0355

Regional analysis

Labour market conditions moved is all sorts of directions at the economic region (ER) level over the past year, with some parts of the province registering meaningful job gains and other parts losing work. Improved labour market conditions in ERs like Fredericton-Oromocto and Moncton-Richibucto masked some significant deteriorations in the CampbelltonMiramichi ER and, to a lesser extent, the Saint John-St. Stephen ER.
 
In the northeast of the province, labour market conditions deteriorated noticeably since January of last year. The level of employment in the relatively small Campbellton-Miramichi (ER) declined by 2,000, which is close to 13% in percentage terms. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, actually fell by more than two full percentage points during the same period, as the job gains were accompanied by an even sharper drop in the labour force. Perhaps more than any other, this region of the province struggles with a rapidly aging population, which is exerting pressure on an already shrinking labour force.
 
In the Moncton-Richibucto (ER), where economic activity remains among the strongest in the year, the level of employment grew by 3,700. An almost-matching increase in the size of the labour force helped contain the decline in the unemployment rate which, at 6.1% in January, is close to a provincial low. More generally, entrants appear to be having relatively little difficulty integrating into the labour market and finding work.

The level of employment fell by 2,000 in the Saint John-St. Stephen (ER) between January of last year and January of 2020,  lifting the unemployment rate by 1.3 percentage points to 7.8% during the same period. Both the labour force and the working age population were relatively unchanged during this period.   

Labour market conditions strengthened considerably in the Fredericton-Oromocto (ER) over the past year, as employment grew by 5,900 since January of 2019. The rise in employment most likely contributed to the moderate influx of people into the labour force during the same period. The unemployment rate diminished by 0.8 percentage points, and currently sits at 6.9%. The city of Fredericton is home to a large number of stable jobs, including the majority of the Government of New Brunswick’s offices. Meanwhile, the nearby 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown employs over 7,000.

Labour market conditions have been relatively stable over the past year in the Edmundston-Woodstock (ER). The level of employment diminished only modestly, while the unemployment rate fell by 1.7 percentage points to 5.6%, as close to 2,000 workers entered the labour force.

New Brunswick monthly labour force statistics, by economic region
Seasonally unadjusted data Employment Unemployment rate
Jan 2020
('000)
Jan 2019
('000)
Yearly
variation
(%)
Jan 2020
(%)
Jan 2019
(%)
Yearly
variation
(% points)
New Brunswick 350.7 347.1 1.0 7.7 8.4 -0.7
Economic regions
Campbellton-Miramichi 55.3 57.3 -3.5 12.6 14.7 -2.1
Moncton-Richibucto 110.2 106.5 3.5 6.1 6.8 -0.7
Saint John-St. Stephen 83.4 87.4 -4.6 7.8 6.5 1.3
Fredericton-Oromocto 66.2 60.3 9.8 6.9 7.7 -0.8
Edmundston-Woodstock 35.5 35.6 -0.3 5.6 7.3 -1.7

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0293

Note

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, Atlantic Region
For further information, please contact the LMI team.
For information on the Labour Force Survey, please visit the Statistics Canada website.

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