Manitoba Labour Market Information Overview

Manitoba's Population Click arrow to open

According to Statistics Canada postcensal estimates, the total population of Manitoba was estimated at 1,323,958 residents as of October 1, 2016. The province’s population increased by 22,601 people, or 1.74 per cent, since October 1, 2015, the highest growth rate in Canada.

A large portion of Manitoba’s estimated population gain over the past twelve months was the result of immigration. Manitoba welcomed 17,392 individuals over the past twelve months, a record level of immigration. Over the past year, total net migration to Manitoba (interprovincial and international migration combined) was +12,112 individuals from other jurisdictions.

The Manitoba Bureau of Statistics (MBS) maintains that Statistics Canada substantially underestimated Manitoba’s population during the last Census and developed its own population estimates as a result. MBS estimates Manitoba population at 1,309,500 in 2015 and forecasts an increase to 1,398,500 persons by 2020.

As of July 1, 2016, the median age of the population was 37.5 years, 3.1 years below the median age of Canada (40.6 years). 81.3 per cent of the population in Manitoba was of working age (15 years and over).

Aboriginal Manitobans and Immigrants Click arrow to open

Aboriginal Manitobans

According to the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 16.7 per cent (195,895) of the population of Manitoba had an Aboriginal identity. While 9.7 per cent (114,230) reported a First Nations identity only, 6.7 per cent (78,835) reported a Métis identity only and less than 0.1 per cent (580) reported an Inuit identity only. An additional 1,055, or 0.1 per cent, reported other Aboriginal identities and 1,200, or 0.1 per cent, reported more than one Aboriginal identity.

The Aboriginal population in Manitoba is younger than the non-Aboriginal population. In 2011, the median age of the Aboriginal population was 24.4 years compared to 40.7 for the non-Aboriginal population. Sixty-eight percent of the Aboriginal population was of working-age.

The proportion of Aboriginal persons in the labour force is increasing owing to the growth in the population of Aboriginal Manitobans. Between 2011 and 2015, the population of  non-Aboriginal Manitobans age 15 years and older increased by 4.2%, while the population of First-Nations Manitobans living off-reserve and M├ętis increased by 13.1% and 12.9% respectively.

Immigrant Population

The immigrant population in Manitoba has been growing. In 2011, 15.7 per cent (184,500) of the population of Manitoba was foreign-born (immigrants). In addition, non-permanent residents accounted for 0.7 per cent (8,640) of the population. In comparison, the proportion of the population of Canada who were immigrants was 20.6 per cent, and 1.1 per cent were non-permanent residents.

Of the immigrants living in Manitoba in 2011, 57,655 came to Canada between 2006 and 2011. These recent immigrants made up 31.2 per cent of the immigrants in the province. 89.4 per cent of the immigrant population was of working age (15 years and over).

Educational Attainment Click arrow to open

Levels of educational attainment in Manitoba are high by historical standards and improving. In 2011, 57.3 per cent of the adults aged 25 to 64 years (357,425 people) in Manitoba had completed some form of postsecondary education:

  • 10.6 per cent had an Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma
  • 19.3 per cent had a college or other non-university certificate or diploma  
  • 27.4 per cent had a university certificate or degree

Of the remaining population aged 25 to 64 years in Manitoba, 17.1 per cent (107,020 people) had no certificate, diploma or degree and 25.6 per cent (159,495 people) had a high school diploma or equivalent.

More recent data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows that in 2015, 55.7% of Manitobans in the labour force had attained a post secondary certificate, diploma or degree, up from 51% in 2011 and 48% a decade earlier. Educational attainment in Manitoba is lower compared to all of Canada. In Canada 63.7% of population has a post-secondary diploma or university degree.

Labour Force and Employment Click arrow to open

In the last 10 years, Manitoba’s labour force expanded at the rate of 1.1 per cent annually. The average participation rate was 68.8 per cent, 1.0 percentage points higher than the average over the previous decade. The employment rate averaged 65.3 per cent, 1.2 percentage points higher than the previous ten year period.

Between 2011 and 2015, the working age population in Manitoba (population aged 15 years and above) increased by 47,600 persons (5.1%) from 939,600 to 987,200. Over the same period, Manitoba’s labour force expanded by 4.1 per cent or 26,700 persons and employment increased by 4.0 per cent or 24,500 persons. This resulted in a 0.1 percentage points increase in the unemployment rate. The increase in employment has been in the private sector. Between 2011 and 2015, while private sector employment in Manitoba increased by 5.6 per cent, public sector employment decreased by 0.2 per cent.

In 2016, on average 674,900 Manitobans were in the labour force each month. Manitoba’s high participation rate and labour force growth have continued to increase the province’s labour supply. An average labour force participation rate of 67.6 per cent in 2016 ranked Manitoba fourth among provinces. Manitoba’s participation rate was above Canada’s rate of 65.7 per cent in 2016. 

Manitoba Labour Force Characteristics
Population aged 15 and over
Labour force
Full-time employment
Part-time employment 
Not in labour force
Unemployment rate (%)
Participation Rate (%)
Employment Rate (%)
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 282-0123

Between 2015 and 2016, average employment levels in Manitoba decreased by 2,800 (0.4%) to reach 633,600 persons. 4,200 full-time jobs were lost, while part-time positions increased by 1,600.

The employment rate in Manitoba has historically remained above the employment rate for Canada. In 2016, Manitoba’s employment rate was 63.4 per cent, ranking Manitoba fifth and above Canada’s rate of 61.1 per cent.

Private and Public Sector Employment in Manitoba 2011 to 2015 - Overview chart 1

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

Average Weekly Earnings

In 2015, average weekly earnings in Manitoba (including overtime) were $880.17 and the Canadian average was $952.11. Between 2011 and 2015, the average weekly earnings in Manitoba increased by 9.5 per cent.

Unemployment Rate

Over the last decade, Manitoba has experienced very low unemployment rates by historical standards.  Since 2006, Manitoba’s unemployment rate has averaged 5.3 per cent.  With an unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in 2016, Manitoba has the fourth lowest unemployment rate in Canada.

Based on the Manitoba Finance survey of economic forecasters, Manitoba’s unemployment rate is forecast to decrease to 5.9 per cent in 2017 and to 5.7 per cent in 2018. The unemployment rate for Canada is forecasted at 6.9 per cent in 2017 and 6.7 per cent in 2018.

In 2015, Manitoba’s youth unemployment rate was 13.2 per cent, the sixth lowest in Canada.

Unemployment rate - Manitoba and Canada

Unemployment rate in Canada

Job Vacancies and Wages

Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) estimates that in the third quarter of 2016, there were 11,120 job vacancies in Manitoba, a decrease of 525 or 4.5 per cent over the previous quarter. The number of payroll employees increased by 7,885 or 1.4 per cent to 568,160 over the same period, resulting in a job vacancy rate 1.9 per cent, down 0.1 points and below the Canadian rate of 2.5 per cent. The average offered hourly wage increased by 40 cents to $18.75, slightly below the Canadian average of $19.80.

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