Labour force data reveals strength and weaknesses in the northern economy
December 04, 2012
The latest data show Yukon and Nunavut gaining strength while Alaska and NWT appear to be losing steam.
The participation rate is the number of labour force participants expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force. The unemployment rate is the number unemployed in that group expressed as a percentage of the labour force for that group. The labour force is the persons in the population 15 years and older who are working or who are looking for work.
- Nationally, the unemployment rate in Canada is 7.4%—in the U.S. it’s 7.9% (October data). In Canada the labour force participation rate is 66.8% vs. 63.8%. This suggests either greater strength in the Canadian economy or weakness in the US.
- Alaska’s labour force declined by about 5,000 people year over year, or 1.3%. However, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.4%. So unemployment declined not because of net new jobs, rather fewer people in the labour force.
- Yukon’s labour force expanded by 2.5% and it’s participation rate changed only by 1% so it’s unemployment rate rose by 0.8%. The high participation rate and increase in the labour force is a sign of greater economic growth.
- NWT saw little change in its labour force, while its unemployment rate rose to 9.1%.
- Nunavut’s labour force increased by 1.5% and it’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4%.
Alaska does not publish its labour force participation rate. Alaska and Yukon are doing better than the national averages in terms of unemployment.
- a)http://www.eia.gov.nu.ca/stats/labour.html and http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-001-x/2012004/t022-eng.htm