Nunavut’s unemployment rate stood at 12.9 per cent as of April 2023, up from 11.7 per cent in April 2022.
The employment rate in April was 54.8 per cent and the participation rate in the workforce was 62.9 per cent.
The unemployment rate was 10.6 per cent among women and 15 per cent among men.
The Nunavut Bureau of Statistics determined that Inuit employment rose by 10.7 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021, as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
In attempting to facilitate a stronger workforce, the Department of Family Services has $1 million set aside for workforce development agreement programs in 2023-24, matching last year’s investment.
The territory had 530 job vacancies as of the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Statistics Canada. There were 15,980 payroll employees at that time, which was 1,000 more payroll employees than the fourth quarter of 2021.
Wage growth offset
Goods-producing industries paid $2,236.14 in gross average weekly earnings Nunavut as of February 2023. Service-producing industries paid $1,381.92 weekly, on average.
“Unfortunately, real wage growth was undermined by the high inflation throughout 2022,” the Government of Nunavut (GN) stated in its 2023-24 Budget Indicators report, but also noted that Nunavut wages remain well above the Canadian average.
That report also noted that in 2021, the most recent year with available data, each Nunavut worker produced roughly $235,033 worth of gross domestic product (GDP), up by two per cent from the previous year. That translates into $125 produced for each hour of work and was 1.6 times the national average, according to the GN, which acknowledged that the strength of the mining industry and its metals play a key role in this metric.
Nunavut’s median hourly wage was $36 per hour as of April 30, 2022, the second highest in the country at the time, Statistics Canada data shows. Only the NWT’s median wage of $37.30 per hour was more. Yukon was third at $32 and the highest among the provinces was Alberta at $28.85.
Converting $36 per hour as a full-time annual salary would equate to $74,880.
The federal government’s online job bank reveals that the highest median wages in Nunavut are earned by government managers in the fields of economic analysis, policy development and program administration ($71.20 per hour), school principals ($69.34), other managers in public administration ($67.69) and human resources managers ($67.64).
The lowest hourly wages in the territory were paid to cashiers, store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers ($16); airline ticket and service agents ($18.95); air transport ramp attendants ($20); early childhood educators and assistants ($21); and food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations ($22).
The minimum wage in Nunavut is $16 per hour.
In May, an arbitrator ruled that federal and territorial government strategies to boost Inuit employment were falling short of requirements set out in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
That agreement, created in 1993, aims for 85 per cent Inuit representation in the public service. The arbitrator, agreeing with the filing from land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, determined that the Government of Nunavut and Government of Canada have failed to provide enough detail in how they will achieve the hiring goals and they make it difficult to track progress.
Inuit employment within the GN has been close to 50 per cent for more than a decade while at the federal level, it hovers between 40 and 48 per cent, depending on the source. In addition, Inuit hold jobs mostly at the administrative level within government, and are disproportionately low among management, professional, supervisory and scientific occupations.
All parties in the dispute are expected to meet to find solutions to this problem. If there’s not satisfactory direction set, an arbitrator will again intervene.
Nunavut employment by industry (February 2023)
Public administration 5,350
Healthcare and social assistance 1,204
Accommodation and food services 989
Transportation and warehousing 888
Real estate, rental and leasing 757
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 755
Educational services 665
Other services 538
Professional, scientific and technical services 358
Finance and insurance 303
Management of companies and enterprises 236
Information and cultural industries 111
Arts, entertainment and recreation 110
(Certain industries, such as mining and manufacturing are suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act)
Source: Statistics Canada
For more stories from Opportunities North 2023, click this link: https://www.nunavutnews.com/special-feature/opportunities-north-2023/