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Canada's Changing Labour Force, 2006 Census: The provinces and territories


Highest unemployment rates in Atlantic Canada and the North, but rates falling

Canada's labour market is really comprised of a number of diverse, regional labour markets. In the Atlantic region and Nunavut, for example, unemployment is higher than anywhere else in Canada or the United States. Parts of western Canada, on the other hand, have very tight labour markets.

Unemployment rates in the Atlantic provinces and parts of the North were the highest in Canada in 2006, well above the national rate of 6.6%. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the rate was 18.6%, nearly three times the national average. Unemployment rates in the other Atlantic provinces also exceeded the national average: Prince Edward Island had a rate of 11.1%, New Brunswick, 10.0% and Nova Scotia, 9.1%.

Rates in the larger urban centres in Atlantic Canada tended to be lower than for their provinces as a whole in 2006. In St. John's, the unemployment rate (10.0%) was much lower than the provincial rate. In Halifax (6.3%) and Moncton (6.2%), unemployment rates were lower than both their provincial average and the national average.

In the North, Nunavut had an unemployment rate of 15.6%, the highest unemployment rate in the territories. The Northwest Territories were next with a rate of 10.4%, while the Yukon Territory had a rate of 9.4%.

Unemployment was also more prevalent in parts of the province of Quebec, with rates above the national average in 2006. This was the case for the census metropolitan areas of Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Montréal. This was not true for all cities in the province, as some had unemployment rates that were well below the national average. These included Québec (4.6%), Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (4.9%) and Granby (5.0%).

In Ontario, a number of cities experienced unemployment rates above the national average in 2006. A number of these had incurred losses in manufacturing. These included Windsor, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Peterborough, Sarnia and Toronto.

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