Record number of young people in jobs boosts NWT employment

Employment in the Northwest Territories reached its highest level in five years, the territory’s statistics bureau said, attributing some of the increase to record figures among youth.

In a monthly update, the NWT Bureau of Statistics said 24,400 of the territory’s residents were employed in July, a level the bureau said was “last seen in August 2016.”

The NWT’s employment rate in July, 72 percent, was a three-percent increase on June and the best in Canada, comfortably exceeding the nationwide employment rate of 59.7 percent. Only the Yukon, at 68 percent, has a comparable employment rate at present.


The employment rate measures the number of people in full-time or part-time work, expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 and over.

Compared to July last year, when pandemic-related restrictions in the NWT were at or close to their most stringent, 3,000 more residents are now in work. Of those, 2,100 live outside Yellowknife – pointing to signs of economic recovery in smaller communities while also highlighting Covid-19’s comparatively minimal impact on the territorial capital.

“Youth aged 15 to 24 recorded the largest increase in the employment rate, rising by 23.1 percentage points from 43.6 percent in July 2020,” the bureau said in a news release. “The July 2021 youth employment rate of 66.7 percent is the record highest for this age group.”

The figures for youth are likely to have been bolstered by the return of the GNWT’s summer student program, which was hit by the pandemic last year.

The bureau said employment overall had increased year-on-year by 1,400 in the public sector, 1,100 in the private sector, and around 400 in self-employed work. (Monthly figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.)


July’s figures exceed the NWT’s pre-pandemic employment rate.

“Compared to labour market conditions prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the July 2021 employment rate was 1.9 percentage points higher than July 2019,” the bureau wrote.

“Similarly, employment was up by 700 persons, driven solely by part-time employment.”