The unemployment rate shows the percentage of Canadian adults (15 years of age and over) who are not employed, are looking for work, and are available to take a job.
Why This Matters
The unemployment rate shows the percentage of Canadian adults (15 years of age and over) who are not working for pay, and are therefore not in a position to earn income. It is a common measure of economic well-being, and is one of the major social determinants of health (Mikkonen & Raphael 2010). Also, as an indicator of participation in the workforce, it can be used as an indicator of social capital.
Measurement and Limitations
According to Statistics Canada: “unemployment is based primarily on the activity of job search and the availability to take a job. In addition to being conceptually appropriate, job search activities can, in a household survey, be objectively and consistently measured over time. The definition of unemployment is therefore the following. Unemployed persons are those who, during reference week (a) were on temporary layoff during the reference week with an expectation of recall and were available for work, or (b) were without work, had looked for work in the past four weeks, and were available for work, or (c) had a new job to start within four weeks from reference week, and were available for work.”
Canada: Statistics Canada, Table: 14-10-0020-01 (formerly CANSIM 282-0004)
2006-Present – Winnipeg: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0385-01 Labour force characteristics, annual
1997-2005 – Winnipeg: Statistics Canada, Table: 14-10-0096-01 (formerly CANSIM 282-0129)
Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers. Previous year’s data may be updated as new data is released.
Statistics Canada. (2010). Guide to the Labour Force Survey: Determining labour force status. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-543-g/2010001/part-partie2-eng.htm
Mikkonen, J., & Raphael, D. (2010). Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts. Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management. Available at:http://ywcacanada.ca/data/research_docs/00000131.pdf
Unemployment Rate in the Sustainable Development Goals
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8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.
A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. The creation of quality jobs will remain a major challenge for almost all economies well beyond 2015.
Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.
Related Unemployment Rate Targets
By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value