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Statistics Canada has released its Labour Force Survey for March 2011. The unemployment rate was barely changed from the prior month (down to 7.7% from 7.8%). Here’s a long term chart from 1976 to the present.

A shorter term chart (January 2008 to present) shows the changes since the period immediately prior to the recession.

The shorter term chart highlights how unemployment, which initially rose quite quickly, has been slow to come down.

It still remains lower than the US rate, though the US rate had been falling faster than the Canadian rate and the difference between the two is not as large as it once was.

The current difference is 1.1% (7.7% in Canada vs. 8.8% in the US), but in April 2010 the difference was 1.8% (8.1% vs. 9.9%).

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Statistics Canada has released the unemployment data for October 2010 showing a small downtick in the rate from 8.0% to 7.9%. This leaves the rate in generally the same trending area it has been in for most of the year. Here’s a table with the year to date numbers.

On the long term chat you can see the flattening out.

The shorter term chart makes the current meandering trend more visible.

The change at least compares favorably with the US where the unemployment rate was unchanged for the month at 9.6%. Here’s a table with a summary of the differences between the two.

Here’s a chart comparing rates in the two countries for the past decade.

From the chart you can see the US rate starting to rise earlier and for a longer period.

Interesting note I didn’t realize. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (where I got the US data from) doesn’t charge anything for their datasets. Statistics Canada charges $3.00 per dataset. So if you want unemployment data broken down by age, education etc you pay for each category within that dataset (ie. each age group or educational grouping counts as one dataset that you are charged for – so 5 age groups, you pay $15.00). I’d be inclined to do more analysis otherwise.

Statistics Canada has released the unemployment figures for September 2010 and they show a very modest decline in the overall unemployment rate, from 8.1% to 8.0%. Here’s a table with the year to date data.

And the long term graph with all the data since January 1976.

And a short term graph with the data since the beginning of the recession.