Statistics Canada has released it’s Labour Force Survey for November 2010 showing a drop in the overall unemployment rate from 7.9 to 7.6%. This is the lowest the rate has been since January of 2009 when it was 7.3%.

According to the survey, over the past year part time employment has grown by 4% whilst full time employment has grown by 1.4% (page 8 of the document). A person who got a part time job is no longer considered unemployed, even if they were (or still are) seeking full time employment. They may be underemployed, but Stats Can does not publish an underemployment rate or a quality of employment index (that I know of). From page 11 of the survey, here’s a chart showing the changes in full vs part time employment since January 2007.

The full time employment index has yet to recover to pre-recession levels, though the part time employment index is well above its pre-recession level.

Private sector employment has also remained relatively weak. Another chart from page 11 of the survey showing that the private sector employment index has yet to recover to its pre-recession level.

Also interesting about the above graph are the changes in the self-employment index (which is really just another part of private sector employment as far as I can tell).

The change in the unemployment rate was also driven by a decrease in the participation rate for the 15 to 24 age group. In October the participation rate was 64.1%, for November it was 63.2%. So even though employment in this age bracket was little changed, from 2,402,700 in October to 2,407,500 in November, there was a large change in its unemployment rate, from 15.0% to 13.6% (the numbers are taken from the tables on page 27 of the LFS).

Here’s a graph showing the most recent month’s data as part of the historical data series going back to 1976.

And here’s a short term chart covering the last three years (essentially the immediate pre-recession period to present) showing the slow recovery in employment.

In the USA the unemployment rate increased in November to 9.8%, up from 9.6% the previous month. Here’s a comparison of the Canadian and American unemployment rates since January 2000.