Research summary - Measuring unemployment

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Measuring unemployment by occupation and economic region

Author of report: Sami Bibi

Why this study

The department developed a Recent Labour Market Assessment model to study regional-occupational differences in the labour market. The model decides whether a local labour market shows signs of:

  • labour shortage, or
  • labour surplus

We define a local labour market by:

  • occupation (at 4-digit level), and
  • economic region

What we did

We applied advanced statistical analysis to:

  • census data
  • Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, and
  • Employment Insurance administrative data

Based on these data, we estimated indirect employment and unemployment statistics for all local labour markets. This included all local labour markets where the LFS-based direct statistics are not available (sampling issue). They also include most of the local labour markets where Statistics Canada cannot reveal unemployment rates (sample size issue).

What we found

The results are very positive. They show that our indirect estimates of labour statistics are more reliable than the direct LFS-based estimates.

What it means

We can estimate unemployment statistics for less than half of the local labour markets when we use direct LFS-based estimates. The advanced statistical methods we used give reliable estimates of employment and unemployment for all local labour markets. These include local labour markets where direct LFS-based estimates either don't exist or aren't reliable. Many labour programs, such as the Temporary Foreign Worker program, need reliable employment and unemployment statistics by both:

  • economic region, and
  • occupation

The new method that we developed may be useful for many labour market programs.

Contact us

Skills and Employment Branch; Labour Market Information Directorate; Policy, Research, Analysis and Geomatics Division


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