A recent study which measures how new immigrants adjust over time to living in Canada confirms that two years after arriving in Canada, prime working-age immigrants had made significant progress integrating into the labour force.
The study which monitored 6000 families representing 106,600 people aged 25-44 years found that overall, the employment rate of prime working-age immigrants moved towards the national average the longer they resided in Canada. At 26 weeks after their arrival, 60% of all principal applicant immigrants aged 25-44 were employed. This was 20 percentage points below the employment rate of about 80% among all individuals in this age group across Canada. This gap, according to labour market specialists, is not surprising given that immigrants have limited time to become established in the labour market and had many settlement challenges to address.
At 52 weeks after arrival, the employment rate among prime working-age principal applicant immigrants were 68%. This narrowed the gap to 12 percentage points below the Canadian rate. At two years the gap was narrowed to just 8 percentage points below the employment rate among all Canadians in this age group. Additionally, the study found that the vast majority (90%) of prime principal applicant working-age immigrants found employment during their first two years in Canada, working for more than one year and most (75%), found employment within six months of arriving to Canada.
These findings published in the October 2005 “Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: Progress and Challenges of New Immigrants in the Workforce” comes at a time when Canada’s overall employment figures reveal the most impressive results in three decades – the Canadian unemployment rate for October was just 6.6% a rate which many economists believe represents “full employment” in Canada.
In October, according to Labour Force Survey figures published by Statistics Canada, employment increased by 21,000 in Ontario with the largest gains in professional, scientific and technical services as well as education. Despite more people working, there was a similar increase in the number of entrants to the labour force, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.4%. Since the start of the year, employment in the province has increased by 92,000 (+1.4%) with the largest gains in education, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services. In contrast, the manufacturing sector now employs 42,000 (-3.9%) fewer workers than at the end of 2004.
In Quebec, employment continued on its upward trend in October with an increase of 16,000. Since last May, when the trend began, employment is up 66,000 (+1.8%), mostly in educational services and in health care and social assistance. The number of workers employed in manufacturing continued on its downward trend over the same period. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points in October to 8.3%.
Employment in British Columbia rose by 14,000 in October, with strong gains in retail and wholesale trade. Overall employment in the province is now 2.8% (+59,000) above the level at the end of 2004, the strongest job growth rate in the country. In October, the unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 5.1%, the lowest in the last 30 years.
Employment in Alberta rose by 11,000 in October, all in part time. The employment increase in October brings total gains since the start of the year to 27,000 with strength in professional, scientific and technical services, transportation and warehousing, and in natural resources. However, there has been weakness over the same period in accommodation and food as well as manufacturing. The unemployment rate in the province edged down 0.1 percentage points in October to 4.0%.
In Nova Scotia, employment increased by 5,000 in October with strong gains in retail and wholesale trade as well as in construction. However, the unemployment rate edged up to 8.5% (+0.1 percentage points) as more people joined the labour market. Despite the job increase in October, employment is up by only 0.4% so far in the year.
Employment in the other provinces was little changed in October.