Employment in Canada is humming and payrolls in the IT sector are growing, helping to make Canada an attractive target for IT skills.
Employment in Canada grew 3.2 percent between 2003 and 2005 (the most recent years for which data is available), outpacing the United States, where employment rose 2.9 percent in the same period.
IT payroll growth in Canada surpassed that of employment, swelled by growth of the industry itself, rising four percent between 2004 and 2005, with especially large increases in data processing, up 18 percent from the prior year. Payroll increased 7 percent for software publishers and 1 percent for systems designing businesses in the same period.
According to the Annual Survey of Software Development and Computer Services released in February, three of Canadas top IT and communications technology services industries combined for $30.7 billion in operating revenues in 2005, up four percent from the previous year. The computer systems design and related services industry was the largest of these, accounting for $21.6 billion in operative revenues, followed by software publishers at $6.4 billion and hosting and related services at $2.8 billion.
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Canadas employment rate surpassed that of the United States in 2001, after hovering below it since 1986. In 2005, when 63.4 percent of the Canadian population 16 and over were employed (adjusted to compare with U.S. labor statistics), 62.7 percent of the American population was employed.
Canadas unemployment rate, adjusted to the U.S. definition of unemployment, dropped in the last 12 years, from a high of 10.8 percent in 1993 to an all-time low of 6.0 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from a high of 7.5 percent in 1992 to a low of 4.0 percent in 2000. The unemployment rate in the United States has stayed within 4.4 and 4.6 percent for nearly a year.
During the last four years, Canadas rate has been within one percentage point of the U.S. rate. The last time the gap was so small was in 1982. Meanwhile, Canadas software development segment is booming.
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