Labour Market Bulletin - Ontario: May 2019

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This Labour Market Bulletin provides an analysis of Labour Force Survey results for the province of Ontario, including the regions of Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula, Kingston-Pembroke, Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie, London, Muskoka-Kawarthas, Northeast, Northwest, Ottawa, Stratford-Bruce Peninsula, Toronto and Windsor-Sarnia.

Overview

Labour Force Trends - Employment increased in Ontario in May 2019

  • Employment grew by 20,900 in Ontario in May 2019

  • All of the job gains took place in full-time work (+28,400)

  • The unemployment rate decreased to 5.2% in May

  • The unemployment rate for Ontario's youth aged 15 to 24 decreased to 11.3%

Employment in Ontario rose by 20,900 in May 2019. Gains in full-time employment (+28,400) more than offset losses in part-time work (-7,500). The unemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 5.2%, as fewer people searched for work. The last time that Ontario's unemployment rate hit such a low figure was in March 1990. The participation rate dipped to 64.9% and the employment rate inched up to 61.5%.

Youth employment decreased in Ontario by 9,000 in May with all of the losses in part-time work (-14,100). The unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to reach 11.3%. Over the past year, estimates show steady employment conditions for youth with job gains of 37,000 and an increase in the participation rate from 60.2% in May 2018 to 61.3% in May 2019. Nationally, the youth unemployment rate stood at 10.0%.

Employment grew by 27,700 in Canada, topping analysts' expectations of around 8,000.1 This modest increase followed the significant jump observed in the previous month. All of the job gains were in full-time work. Employment rose in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, while other provinces saw limited or negative job growth. The national unemployment rate decreased to 5.4%, which was the lowest figure recorded since comparable data became available in 1976. The employment rate increased to 62.2% this month, and average hourly wages rose by 2.8% in Canada between May 2018 and May 2019.2

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by only 75,000 in the United States in May 2019 and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.3 This figure came in well short of job gain expectations of around 178,000.4 Employment growth in professional and business services and in health care continued to perform well while employment in manufacturing showed little change over the month. The number of involuntary part-time workers declined by 299,000 in May, and average hourly earnings rose 3.1% over the past year.

The provincial labour market has been rather strong over the past twelve months. Employment increased by 222,200 between May 2018 and May 2019. Full-time employment rose by 142,000 and part-time work increased by 80,300. The unemployment rate edged down 0.5 percentage points to 5.2% and the participation rate increased by 0.4 percentage points to 64.9% during this period.

Throughout the summer months, Statistics Canada collects labour market data on youth aged 15 to 24 who attended school full-time in March and who intend to return to school full-time in autumn.5 Student summer employment increased by 30,400 in Ontario between May 2018 and May 2019. The unemployment rate for returning students declined by 2.8 percentage points to 15.0%. This was above the national rate of 13.8%. The participation and employment rates for summer students also rose quite noticeably in Ontario to 53.0% and 45.1%, which may suggest that students were able to secure work more easily. Labour market conditions for the summer job market will become clearer over the next couple of months as there is often greater job activity from youth in June and July. This is particularly true for younger students aged 15 to 19 who may have still been in school at the time of the May survey.

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics
Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly Data
May 2019 April 2019 May 2018 Monthly Variation Yearly Variation
Number % Number %
Population 15 + ('000) 12,093.3 12,074.9 11,868.4 18.4 0.2 224.9 1.9
Labour Force ('000) 7,843.2 7,887.2 7,654.5 -44.0 -0.6 188.7 2.5
Employment ('000) 7,438.0 7,417.1 7,215.8 20.9 0.3 222.2 3.1
Full-Time ('000) 6,056.8 6,028.4 5,914.8 28.4 0.5 142.0 2.4
Part-Time ('000) 1,381.2 1,388.7 1,300.9 -7.5 -0.5 80.3 6.2
Unemployment ('000) 405.2 470.1 438.8 -64.9 -13.8 -33.6 -7.7
Unemployment Rate (%) 5.2 6.0 5.7 -0.8 - -0.5 -
Participation Rate (%) 64.9 65.3 64.5 -0.4 - 0.4 -
Employment Rate (%) 61.5 61.4 60.8 0.1 - 0.7 -
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0287, formerly CANSIM 282-0087

Ontario Monthly Employment and Unemployment Rate
Ontario quarterly employment growth. The data table for this graph is located below
Show data table
Ontario Monthly Employment and Unemployment Rate
Month Unemployment Rate (%) Employment ('000)
May-17 7,094.7 6.40
Jun-17 7,086 6.30
Jul-17 7,116.1 6.10
Aug-17 7,154.1 5.50
Sep-17 7,177.2 5.60
Oct-17 7,179.7 5.80
Nov-17 7,208.3 5.50
Dec-17 7,208.8 5.60
Jan-18 7,171.6 5.60
Feb-18 7,187.1 5.50
Mar-18 7,194.9 5.60
Apr-18 7,212.3 5.60
May-18 7,215.8 5.70
Jun-18 7,246.8 5.90
Jul-18 7,302.5 5.40
Aug-18 7,228.4 5.70
Sep-18 7,266.4 5.80
Oct-18 7,267.5 5.60
Nov-18 7,284.4 5.60
Dec-18 7,300.5 5.40
Jan-19 7,341.9 5.70
Feb-19 7,378.8 5.70
Mar-19 7,370 5.90
Apr-19 7,417.1 6
May-19 7,438.0 5.20

Ontario Monthly Unemployment Rates, by Gender and Age
Seasonally Adjusted Data May 2019 April 2019 May 2018 Monthly Variation Yearly Variation
% % % (% points) (% points)
Total 5.2 6.0 5.7 -0.8 -0.5
25 years and over 4.2 4.9 4.7 -0.7 -0.5
Men - 25 years and over 4.3 4.9 4.5 -0.6 -0.2
Women - 25 years and over 4.0 5.0 4.9 -1.0 -0.9
15 to 24 years 11.3 12.0 11.8 -0.7 -0.5
Men - 15 to 24 years 11.5 11.9 12.1 -0.4 -0.6
Women - 15 to 24 years 10.9 12.2 11.6 -1.3 -0.7
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0287, formerly CANSIM 282-0087

EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY

Employment decreased in the goods-producing sector owing to a loss in almost all industries

Employment in Ontario's goods-producing sector decreased by 6,600 (-0.4%) in May 2019. The decrease was attributed to employment losses in all industries except agriculture (+3,500; +5.0%). Manufacturing withstood the largest loss (-5,700; -0.7%), followed by construction (-2,800; -0.5%), utilities (-1,100; -1.9%), and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-600; -1.8%).

Employment in manufacturing contracted in May 2019 after a large gain in April. The Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped from 49.7 in April 2019 to 49.1 in May 2019, signalling a second successive softening in business conditions as new orders continued to decline.6 The latest overall manufacturing sales figures showed some improvement between March 2018 and March 2019 (+1.1%) as gains in durable goods outweighed sales losses in non-durable goods.7 Despite weaker employment figures, the industry saw some positive announcements. The Government of Canada announced that it would invest about $3.05M into multiple northeastern Ontario manufacturing projects to boost innovation.8,9,10 Furthermore, WeedMD Rx Inc. will convert its 8,000-sq.-ft. operation in Aylmer into a cannabis oil extraction and processing facility,11 helping push the chemical manufacturing component of the industry. 

Employment also decreased in construction in May 2019. While total housing starts rose in Ontario, there was a noticeable decline in single-detached starts between April 2018 and April 2019.12 This may be partly because of builders responding13 to the weaker overall volume of home sales in the Greater Toronto Area compared to the 10-year average.14 Other industry indicators such as the total value of building permits15 and housing prices continued to show promise16 with year-over-year gains in Ontario.17 Going forward, the provincial government's infrastructure development plan (BuildON) cites over 1,600 construction projects currently underway throughout Ontario with another 400-plus projects expected to start in 2019.18

Employment conditions were positive in the goods-producing sector when compared year-over-year with an increase of 37,000 (+2.6%). Industry gains were led by construction (+26,800; +5.2%) while the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,900; -5.4%) and utilities (-400; -0.7%) industries experienced an annual decrease.

Three industries led employment growth in the services-producing sector

Employment increased in the services-producing sector by 27,500 (+0.5%) in May 2019, with the largest contributions coming from health care and social assistance (+12,800; +1.5%), professional, scientific and technical services (+11,800; +1.8%), and other services (+11,000, +3.7%) such as personal and laundry services. In contrast, the trade (-8,200; -0.7%), educational services (-5,700; -1.0%), and accommodation and food services (-2,700; -0.6%) industries observed the largest losses.

Employment in health care and social assistance increased in May 2019, for the second month in a row. The Government of Ontario announced that it would invest nearly $1.3M in mental health services at three organizations in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, which may help support new hiring.19 Going forward, the provincial health care system may see some changes as the Ontario Government announced that it intends to merge 20 health care agencies that employ over 10,000 individuals into one central agency called Ontario Health.20 At this time, it is not clear how these changes may affect health care and social assistance employment over the short term.

Employment in the trade industry dropped in Ontario in May 2019 with employment losses entirely in wholesale trade.21 Despite this decline, the latest retail sales figure registered a year-over-year increase,22 though gains in wholesale trade were rather weak.23 Large developments in retail included news that Healthy Planet will open eight new stores across Ontario in 2019,24 and Mobile Klinik plans to open 200 stores over the next three years in select Walmart Supercentres across Canada.25 Shopify Inc. also opened a second office in Toronto with plans to hire an additional 750 employees by 2022,26 and the cannabis industry continued to shape the retail landscape as Tweed Inc. opened its first cannabis store in London,27 and High Life Cannabis Co. opened in Sudbury.28

Year-over-year, employment in the services-producing sector grew by 185,200 (+3.2%). The largest annual gains were observed in health care and social assistance (+61,900; +7.4%), trade (+39,500; +3.7%), and educational services (+32,200; +6.3%). The only declines in employment were seen in accommodation and food services (-21,300; -4.4%), business, building and other support services (-10,800; -3.4%), and information, culture and recreation (-8,600; -2.7%).

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics, by Industry
Seasonally Adjusted
Data ('000)
May 2019 April 2019 May 2018 Monthly Variation Yearly Variation
Number % Number %
Total employed, all industries 7,438.0 7,417.1 7,215.8 20.9 0.3 222.2 3.1
Goods-producing sector 1,477.0 1,483.6 1,440.0 -6.6 -0.4 37.0 2.6
Agriculture 73.9 70.4 70.5 3.5 5.0 3.4 4.8
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying,
oil and gas
33.1 33.7 35.0 -0.6 -1.8 -1.9 -5.4
Utilities 56.2 57.3 56.6 -1.1 -1.9 -0.4 -0.7
Construction 544.1 546.9 517.3 -2.8 -0.5 26.8 5.2
Manufacturing 769.7 775.4 760.7 -5.7 -0.7 9.0 1.2
Services-producing sector 5,961.0 5,933.5 5,775.8 27.5 0.5 185.2 3.2
Trade 1,102.1 1,110.3 1,062.6 -8.2 -0.7 39.5 3.7
Transportation and warehousing 402.6 395.5 373.5 7.1 1.8 29.1 7.8
Finance, insurance, real estate
and leasing
583.1 584.4 565.8 -1.3 -0.2 17.3 3.1
Professional, scientific
and technical services
672.8 661 654.2 11.8 1.8 18.6 2.8
Business, building
and other support services
308.7 308.3 319.5 0.4 0.1 -10.8 -3.4
Educational services 541.0 546.7 508.8 -5.7 -1.0 32.2 6.3
Health care and social assistance 895.3 882.5 833.4 12.8 1.5 61.9 7.4
Information, culture and recreation 312.3 311.7 320.9 0.6 0.2 -8.6 -2.7
Accommodation and food services 457.9 460.6 479.2 -2.7 -0.6 -21.3 -4.4
Other services 309.7 298.7 291.3 11.0 3.7 18.4 6.3
Public administration 375.4 373.7 366.6 1.7 0.5 8.8 2.4
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0355, formerly CANSIM 282-0088

REGIONAL ANALYSIS

Toronto and Kitchener‒Waterloo‒Barrie continued to lead provincial employment growth

Employment grew by 122,700 (+3.5%) in the Toronto economic region between May 2018 and May 2019 (measured on a year-over-year, seasonally unadjusted basis). Gains were made in both full-time (+76,000) and part-time employment (+46,800). The regional unemployment rate held steady and the labour force participation rate increased by 0.7 percentage points to 66.8%, the second highest in the province.

Several large announcements over the month will help support employment growth in the region. Greenwin Incorporated and Choice Properties REIT announced plans to redevelop surplus land in downtown Toronto with 200 affordable housing units, 700 purpose-built rental units, a daycare, and retail space.29 In an adjustment to its earlier announcement, General Motors of Canada will invest $170M in its Oshawa plant to convert it into a parts manufacturing and vehicle testing facility, retaining 300 jobs.30 Empire Company Limited will also construct a customer fulfillment centre in Vaughan to support Sobeys upcoming grocery home delivery service.31 On the technology side, Uber Technologies Inc. will open an engineering hub in Toronto that will initially employ 200 workers with plans to accommodate 400 staff.32 Meanwhile on the job loss front, Transcontinental Inc. will close its Brampton printing facility by the end of 2019, affecting 125 employees.33

Employment increased by 42,900 (+6.1%) in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie economic region and the unemployment rate was unchanged over the past year. Gains were realized in both full-time (+5,100) and part-time (+37,900) employment. This region had the highest participation (68.9%) and employment rate (64.9%) among the province's eleven economic regions. Vital Images, a medical software developer, expanded into a new office in Waterloo with plans to hire up to 40 more employees by 2020.34 On a negative note, Tarkett Group announced the closure of its Johnsonite flooring plant in Waterloo by the end of the year, which will result in 70 layoffs.35

Employment in the Ottawa economic region increased by 8,600 (+1.2%) due mostly to gains in full-time employment (+8,400). The unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.4%, which is still one of the lowest in the province, and the participation rate rose to 66.0%. Similarly, employment in the Kingston-Pembroke economic region increased by 19,200 (+9.3%) due largely to gains in full-time employment (+14,600; +9.1%). Some of the recent growth seen in these regions may be from the emerging cannabis industry, as large industrial growers have been setting up operations in both areas in addition to retail stores.

Solid employment growth was also noted in the following economic regions: Muskoka-Kawarthas (+5,900), Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula (+5,500), Windsor-Sarnia (+4,400), and the Northeast (+3,800). The Government of Canada announced that it would invest more than $1M to aid business development in northeastern Ontario.36 This initiative will assist up to 60 businesses and help create or maintain as many as 100 jobs. Several construction projects are underway37 in these regions as well including large housing developments38 in the Hamilton area.39

Employment declined in three economic regions in Ontario in May

The Stratford-Bruce Peninsula economic region posted the largest employment loss (-6,500 or -4.1%) in Ontario between May 2018 and May 2019. This decrease was largely in full-time positions with a decline of 4,300 (-3.5%). Though employment declined, the region may benefit from some positive announcements going forward including the establishment of a cannabis research and development facility in Goderich,40 and the construction of a firehall and public works facility in Blyth.41

The London economic region also saw a drop in employment of 4,100 (-1.2%) from May 2018 to May 2019 due entirely to a decline in part-time employment (-8,200). While employment has trended down recently, there are some positive announcements moving forward including several manufacturing operations setting up shop. This includes Mirolin Industries Corp.,42 Presstran Industries,43 and Whyte's Foods Inc.,44 which will bring more than 300 positions to the region.

Employment growth in the Northwest economic region was relatively muted (-0.2%) over the past year. However, there were a few positive employment prospects in the region, including the opening of the $18.5M Saggius Sainnawap Memorial Health Centre in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation.45 The Government of Canada also announced that it would invest $16M in the Matawa Education and Care Centre.46

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics, by Economic Region
3-Month Moving Averages
Seasonally Unadjusted Data
Employment Unemployment Rate
May 2019 May 2018 Yearly May 2019 May 2018 Yearly
('000) ('000) Variation (%) (%) (%) Variation
Ontario 7,376.9 7,174.7 2.8 5.9 5.8 0.1
Economic Regions
Ottawa 723.2 714.6 1.2 5.4 4.5 0.9
Kingston-Pembroke 225.6 206.4 9.3 5.1 5.1 0.0
Muskoka-Kawarthas 173.3 167.4 3.5 6.1 6.8 -0.7
Toronto 3,621.1 3,498.4 3.5 6.3 6.3 0.0
Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie 747.1 704.2 6.1 5.8 5.8 0.0
Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula 748.5 743.0 0.7 4.9 5.5 -0.6
London 329.5 333.6 -1.2 5 5.6 -0.6
Windsor-Sarnia 305.8 301.4 1.5 5.9 6 -0.1
Stratford-Bruce Peninsula 151.2 157.7 -4.1 4.7 3.3 1.4
Northeast 248.4 244.6 1.6 7 6.5 0.5
Northwest 103.2 103.4 -0.2 5.8 5.7 0.1
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0293, formerly CANSIM 282-0122

Prepared by: Labour Market and Socio-economic Information (LMSI) Directorate, Service Canada, Ontario

For further information, please contact Labour Market and Socio-economic Information (LMSI) Directorate at:

http://www.esdc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/contact/edsc-esdc/eng/contact_us.aspx?section=lmi

For information on the Labour Force Survey, please visit the Statistics Canada Web site at: www.statcan.gc.ca

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by Employment and Social Development Canada, 2019, all rights reserved


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