The number of people working in construction was little changed, but down nonetheless in February, following two consecutive monthly gains. The sector lost 1,500 positions for the month, reports Statistics Canada, after gaining 27,000 in December and 16,000 in January.
Overall, employment held steady in February, gaining just over 20,000 positions as the unemployment rate stayed at 5.0 per cent. Growth in healthcare and social assistance, public administration, and utilities more than offset the drop seen in business, building and other support services.
Employment has trended upward since September 2022. In its latest Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada reports there were 348,000 more employed persons in Canada in February 2023 than in August 2022.
Employment increased in New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, but declined in Nova Scotia. There was little change in employment in the other provinces. Total hours worked rose just over a half-per-cent in February and were up 1.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
The unemployment rate, which held steady at five per cent, remains just shy of the record-low 4.9 per cent observed in June and July of 2022. In February 2023, the unemployment rate fell for men aged 55 and older dropped to 4.2 per cent, and to four per cent for women of the same age group. At the same time, it increased among core-age women, reaching 4.3 per cent, up from the record-low of four per cent observed in January. There was little change among the other major demographic groups.