The latest Canadian employment survey got attention because of an outsized increase of 67,000 new positions in September from the previous month. It probably is wise to look past that figure. Third-quarter indicators will be inflated by a forgettable spring, when the U.S. economy hit a lull and wildfires ravaged Fort McMurray, the heart of Canada’s oil industry. Alberta was one of only three provinces to post significant employment gains in the month, according to Statistics Canada. Unfortunately, Alberta can’t be counted on to lead the economy, not with oil prices around $50 a barrel.
However, beneath the headline of the jobs report, there was evidence of a trend that surely will endure: the end of early retirement. The number of workers aged 55 and older surged by 57,000 from August, and by more than 170,000 from September 2015. The population is aging, so it is only natural that the population of older workers would increase. But there is more to it than that. There were 10.6 million Canadians aged 55 and older in September, an increase of about 3% from a year earlier. The pool of available workers in that age bracket is growing even faster: the labour force, defined as the number of individuals who are either employed or actively looking for work, increased almost 5% from September 2015 to 4.06 million, the most ever.
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