Labour Market Bulletin - Ontario: July 2019

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.


Labour Force Trends - Employment decreased in Ontario in July 2019

  • Employment decreased by 10,700 in Ontario in July 2019
  • All of the job losses were in part-time work (-47,400) while full-time work gained 36,600
  • The unemployment rate increased to 5.7% in July
  • The unemployment rate for Ontario's youth aged 15 to 24 increased to 12.9%

Employment in Ontario decreased by 10,700 in July 2019. Losses in part-time employment (-47,400) more than offset gains in full-time work (+36,600). The unemployment rate grew by 0.3 percentage points to 5.7%. This marks the second month in a row that the province experienced employment losses, and the third time in 2019. The participation rate dipped to 64.8% and the employment rate was marked down to 61.1%.

Youth employment decreased in Ontario by 14,600 in July with all of the losses in part-time work (-17,200). The unemployment rate grew by 0.9 percentage points to reach 12.9%. Over the past year, estimates show steady employment conditions for youth with job gains of 26,800 and an increase in the participation rate from 60.5% in July 2018 to 60.8% in July 2019. Nationally, the youth unemployment rate stood at 11.4%.

Employment fell by 24,200 in Canada in July 2019. This decline marked the second month in a row for employment retractions, and the third time in the year for the country. Losses were reflected in both full-time work (-11,600) and part-time work (-12,600). Employment dropped in eight provinces, with the largest losses in Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Only Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island experienced growth. The national unemployment rate increased to 5.7% and the employment rate decreased to 61.9% this month. Between July 2018 and July 2019, average hourly wages grew by 4.5% in Canada. [1]

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in the United States in July 2019 and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. [2] This figure aligns with average monthly employment growth for the year in the U.S. Employment rose in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance, and financial activities, while employment in manufacturing showed little change since June 2019. The number of involuntary part-time workers declined by 363,000 in July, and average hourly earnings rose 3.2% over the past year.

The provincial labour market has been relatively stable over the past twelve months. Employment increased by 117,800 between July 2018 and July 2019. The gains were fully realized in full-time employment (+161,800) while losses were experienced in part-time work (-44,000). There was an uptick in the unemployment rate by 0.3 percentage points and the participation rate remained unchanged at 64.8% 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. [3] Student summer employment increased by 19,500 in Ontario between July 2018 and July 2019. The unemployment rate for returning students rose by 1.4 percentage points to 15.7%. This was above the national rate of 13.3%. The participation and employment rates for Ontario summer students rose to 61.7%, and 52.0% indicating some ease securing work this summer. However, there may have been some difficulty for the older student cohort (20-24 years old) finding work, particularly part-time positions, as both the participation rate and employment rates decreased over the year. This being said, labour market conditions for the summer job market have continued to improve for all student cohorts as full-time employment has continued to grow since May.

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics
Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly Data
July 2019 June 2019 July 2018 Monthly Variation Yearly Variation
Number % Number %
Population 15 + ('000) 12 141,8 12 114,9 11 911,8 26,9 0,2 230,0 1,9
Labour Force ('000) 7 868,5 7 859,0 7 720,8 9,5 0,1 147,7 1,9
Employment ('000) 7 420,3 7 431,0 7 302,5 -10,7 -0,1 117,8 1,6
Full-Time ('000) 6 080,5 6 043,9 5 918,7 36,6 0,6 161,8 2,7
Part-Time ('000) 1 339,8 1 387,2 1 383,8 -47,4 -3,4 -44,0 -3,2
Unemployment ('000) 448,2 427,9 418,3 20,3 4,7 29,9 7,1
Unemployment Rate (%) 5,7 5,4 5,4 0,3 - 0,3 -
Participation Rate (%) 64,8 64,9 64,8 -0,1 - 0,0 -
Employment Rate (%) 61,1 61,3 61,3 -0,2 - -0,2 -

* 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 monthly employment and unemployment rate. The data table for this graph is located below

Seasonally adjusted data
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey Table 14-10-0287

Show data table: Ontario Monthly Employment and Unemployment Rate
Ontario Monthly Employment and Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate (%) Employment ('000)
Jul-2017 6,1 7 116,1
Aug-2017 5,5 7 417,1
Sep-2017 5,6 7 177,2
Oct-2017 5,8 7 179,7
Nov-2017 5,5 7 208,3
Dec-2017 5,6 7 208,8
Jan-2018 5,6 7 171,6
Feb-2018 5,5 7 187,1
Mar-2018 5,6 7 194,9
Apr-2018 5,6 7 212,3
May-2018 5,7 7 215,8
Jun-2018 5,9 7 246,8
Jul-2018 5,4 7 302,5
Aug-2018 5,7 7 228,4
Sep-2018 5,8 7 266,4
Oct-2018 5,6 7 267,5
Nov-2018 5,6 7 284,4
Dec-2018 5,4 7 300,5
Jan-2019 5,7 7 341,9
Feb-2019 5,7 7 378,8
Mar-2019 5,9 7 370,0
Apr-2019 6,0 7 417,1
May-2019 5,2 7 438,0
Jun-2019 5,4 7 431,0
Jul-2019 5,7 7 420,3
Ontario Monthly Unemployment Rates, by Gender and Age
Seasonally Adjusted Data July 2019
June 2019
July 2018
Monthly Variation
(% points)
Yearly Variation
(% points)
Total 5,7 5,4 5,4 0,3 0,3
25 years and over 4,5 4,4 4,5 0,1 0,0
Men - 25 years and over 4,6 4,5 4,3 0,1 0,3
Women - 25 years and over 4,5 4,2 4,6 0,3 -0,1
15 to 24 years 12,9 12,0 11,2 0,9 1,7
Men - 15 to 24 years 13,7 12,7 12,5 1,0 1,2
Women - 15 to 24 years 12,0 11,4 9,8 0,6 2,2

* Totals may not add due to rounding
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 almost entirely to a loss in manufacturing

Employment in Ontario's goods-producing sector decreased by 8,200 (-1.0%) in July 2019. The decrease was attributed to employment losses in manufacturing (-10,900; -1.4%), and utilities (-2,300; -4.0%). Some small gains were made in construction (4,200; +0.8%), forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (700; +2.2%) and agriculture (200; +0.3%).

Employment in manufacturing contracted in July 2019 after a small gain in June. The Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) increased from 49.2 in June 2019 to 50.2 in July 2019, registering above the 50.0 no-change value for the first time since March 2019. [4] This foray into positive territory can be attributed to a slower decline in output and an increase in pre-production inventories. The latest overall manufacturing sales figures showed some improvement between May 2018 and May 2019 (+2.5%) with sales losses in non-durable goods being offset by gains in durable goods. [5]

July 2019 was marked by announcements of major upcoming layoffs in the manufacturing sector. Bombardier Inc. announced that it would lay off about 550 employees at its Thunder Bay rail-car plant effective November 4, 2019. [6] This was followed by the news that 270 workers will be laid off when Nemak of Canada Corporation closes its Windsor Aluminum Plant by mid-2020. [7] Meanwhile, the beleaguered automotive industry was struck another blow by the Ford Motor Company's announced plans to lay off 185 people at its Oakville plant beginning in September 2019, with further layoffs expected in January 2020. [8]

The sector did see some positive announcements during the month with several Government of Canada investments including a $20 million investment in Gerdau Ameristeel facility upgrades creating 108 jobs and maintaining 710 jobs; [9] a $16 million investment in Tenaris Algoma Tubes expansion projects which will create 90 jobs; [10] and a $20 million investment in Woodbridge Foam Corporation's modernization project which will create 110 jobs and maintain 727 jobs. [11]

Employment also dipped in utilities in July 2019. The sector saw some positive news as the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) received a $8.5 million contract from the Government of Canada to refuel the low-power reactor, SLOWPOKE-2, at the Royal Military College in Kingston. [12] However, any potential employment gains were tempered when CNL also announced that it will be laying off 150 employees at its Chalk River site. [13]

Employment edged up in construction in July 2019 despite the latest total housing start data indicating a decline in Ontario over the year . [14] Employment gains were likely attributed to the increase in construction projects around the province. Other industry indicators such as the total value of building permits [15] and overall housing prices dropped year-over-year in Ontario, indicating some potential for slow growth going forward. [16]

Several major infrastructure construction projects were announced or got underway in July. These included the $30 million refurbishment of the Port Colborne Transmission Station; [17] $63 million rehabilitation of two dams on the Trent River; [18] initiation of $116.9 million construction of two rail tunnels under Highways 401 and 409; [19] and the start of construction on the $80 million natural gas distribution system for Southern Bruce County. [20]

The cannabis industry continues to contribute to employment across the goods producing sector. Recent announcements include GaiaCann Inc.'s establishment of a cannabis facility in Espanola, which will create over a 100 jobs; [21] PharmHouse Inc. anticipating the creation of a 150-employee workforce at its Leamington nursery; [22] and AgMedica Bioscience hiring for 70 future positions at its expanding Chatham-Kent facility. [23]

Employment conditions were positive in the goods-producing sector when compared year-over-year with an increase of 8,300 (+0.6%). Industry gains were led by construction (+11,400; +2.2%) while the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-4,700; -12.6%), utilities (-3,700; -6.4%), and manufacturing (-1,500; -0.2%) industries experienced an annual decrease.

Five industries were responsible for a small employment decline in the services-producing sector

Employment decreased in the services-producing sector by a mere 2,600 (0.0%) in July 2019, with the largest declines coming from other services (-12,700, -4.1%), educational services (-7,900; -1.4%), and transportation and warehousing (-6,700; -1.6%). In contrast, public administration (+10,400; +2.8%), and business building and other support services (+8,200; +2.7%) industries observed the largest gains.

The largest employment loss was observed in the other services industry in July. Other services comprises establishments primarily engaged in: Repairing, or performing general or routine maintenance on motor vehicles, machinery, equipment and other products; providing personal care services, funeral services, laundry services and other services to individuals; organizing and promoting religious activities; supporting various causes through grant-making, promoting various social and political causes, and promoting and defending the interests of their members. Private households are also included.

Educational services experienced employment loss in July, potentially as fallout from the numerous redundancy notifications distributed across school boards in the spring. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] Although notifications of layoffs are not expected until boards have finalized their budgets later in the summer. However, the industry did receive a boost from multiple investments in July. The Government of Ontario invested more than $6M in province-wide summer initiatives to strengthen math skills for students and improve job prospects [31] while also providing $1.9M to Cambrian College's Applied Research Department creating five full-time technician positions and 12 part-time research positions. [32] The Government of Canada provided nearly $5.5M to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 84 to support a new training program in Breslau, which is expected to train 240 electrical apprentices over the next five years. [33] The federal government also invested over $190K in the Innovation Hub at Northern College's Timmins Campus to develop a new research space. [34]

Employment in the trade industry dropped in Ontario in July 2019 with employment losses entirely in retail. [35] The latest retail sales and wholesale trade figures, both registered a year-over-year increase. [36], [37] The retail trade industry saw large developments in the grocery segment with Walmart opening a new Supercentre in St. Catharines later in the summer, which will employ 150 people; [38] Longo's Brothers Fruit Market opening a new store in Toronto creating 185 new jobs; [39] and Mercato Fresh announcing the October opening of a location in Chatham with about 50 employees. [40] The cannabis industry continued to shape the retail landscape with Government of Ontario announcing that 50 new cannabis stores will open across the province in October. [41]

Year-over-year, employment in the services-producing sector grew by 109,500 (+1.9%). The largest annual gains were observed in health care and social assistance (+46,300; +5.4%), professional, scientific and technical services (+38,700; +6.0%), and transportation and warehousing (+21,000; +5.5%). The only declines in employment were seen in accommodation and food services (-21,800; -4.6%), information, culture and recreation (-14,000; -4.3%), and business, building and other support services (-1,500; -0.5%).

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics, by Industry
Seasonally Adjusted July 2019 June 2019 July 2018 Monthly Variation Yearly Variation
Number % Number %
Total employed, all industries 7 420,3 7 431,0 7 302,5 -10,7 -0,1 117,8 1,6
Goods-producing sector 1 463,2 1 471,4 1 454,9 -8,2 -0,6 8,3 0,6
Agriculture 74,3 74,1 67,6 0,2 0,3 6,7 9,9
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas 32,6 31,9 37,3 0,7 2,2 -4,7 -12,6
Utilities 54,5 56,8 58,2 -2,3 -4,0 -3,7 -6,4
Construction 539,2 535,0 527,8 4,2 0,8 11,4 2,2
Manufacturing 762,6 773,5 764,1 -10,9 -1,4 -1,5 -0,2
Services-producing sector 5 957,1 5 959,7 5 847,6 -2,6 0,0 109,5 1,9
Trade 1083,4 1087,8 1077,6 -4,4 -0,4 5,8 0,5
Transportation and warehousing 405,2 411,9 384,2 -6,7 -1,6 21,0 5,5
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 582,1 577,4 571,7 4,7 0,8 10,4 1,8
Professional, scientific and technical services 687,1 683,7 648,4 3,4 0,5 38,7 6,0
Business, building and other support services 316,2 308,0 317,7 8,2 2,7 -1,5 -0,5
Educational services 537,0 544,9 531,8 -7,9 -1,4 5,2 1,0
Health care and social assistance 904,0 900,9 857,7 3,1 0,3 46,3 5,4
Information, culture and recreation 312,4 311,4 326,4 1,0 0,3 -14,0 -4,3
Accommodation and food services 451,8 453,4 473,6 -1,6 -0,4 -21,8 -4,6
Other services 293,6 306,3 292,3 -12,7 -4,1 1,3 0,4
Public administration 384,3 373,9 366,3 10,4 2,8 18,0 4,9

* Totals may not add due to rounding
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0355, formerly CANSIM 282-0088

Regional Analysis

Toronto continues to dominate the province in employment growth

Employment grew by 120,400 (+3.4%) in the Toronto economic region between July 2018 and July 2019 (measured on a year-over-year, seasonally unadjusted basis). Gains were made in both full-time (+97,500), and part-time employment (+23,000). The regional unemployment rate fell by half a percentage point to 6.0%, and labour force participation inched up to 67.6%.

The Greater Toronto Area construction industry welcomed a number of significant infrastructure projects [42], [43] and housing developments [44], [45], [46] in July. Toronto's technology base also strengthened with Pariveda Solutions, a management and technology consulting firm, opening in downtown Toronto, [47] and the Government of Canada's investment of $5M into the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, a lab and incubator hub in Markham. [48] In the services-producing sector, a number of retailers announced expansions including the opening of Longo's Brothers Fruit Market, creating 185 new jobs, [49] Momuso, a Korean-inspired dollar store [50] and WYRTH, a home goods store [51] in Toronto. The Government of Canada has invested over $2.3M through the Canada Summer Jobs program and created more than 560 summer jobs in Toronto [52] as well as contributed $3M for Northern Transformer Corporation to increase production and create 32 skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs in Vaughan. [53] On the negative side, Ford Motor Company announced plans to layoff about 200 people at its Oakville plant, [54] Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto terminated about 150 employees, [55] and Ample Organics, a Toronto-based cannabis software start-up, laid off about 20 employees, affecting senior management as well as software developers and designers. [56]

Employment in the Ottawa economic region increased by 30,300 (+4.2%), due to gains in both full-time employment (+26,600) and part-time employment (+3,800). The regional unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.0%, the second lowest in Ontario.

Ottawa's research hub continues to expand with the Government of Canada investing $40M in CBN Nano Technologies that will create about 469 jobs, [57] along with Rockport Networks receiving over $2.9M for the commercialization of its high-performance network solutions, creating about 20 highly skilled jobs. [58] Some of the recent employment growth in the region can also be attributed to the emerging cannabis industry such as apollogreen starting work on using industrial-scale tissue culture to produce starter plants for cannabis growers. [59] Investments in construction also contributed to the gains this year with the rehabilitation of the Supreme Court of Canada and West Memorial Buildings, [60] ongoing planning for the Ottawa Hospital's Civic Campus redevelopment project, [61] Canarm Ltd. expanding its Parkedale Avenue facility [62] and the improvement project for the Limoges Wastewater Treatment facility. [63]

Employment increased by 24,900 (+3.4%) in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie economic region, mainly due to gains in part-time employment (+23,300). The unemployment rate remained stable over the past year.

Construction activities were robust in the region with the start of ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. expansion of their headquarters in Cambridge, [64] Snobelen Farms Ltd. planning to build a new seed processing, treatment and packaging facility in Palmerston [65] and with work underway at Apple Self Storage facility in Kitchener. [66] The Government of Canada also announced that it would invest $12M to build a new swine research facility in Elora [67] and $2.5M in Newton Group Ltd. to expand and increase production at their pre-cast concrete production facility in Guelph. [68] On a less positive note, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited laid off 65 full-time unionized and several dozen non-unionized employees at its Casino Rama location in Orillia [69] and the Center for International Governance Innovation laid off 21 employees in Waterloo. [70]

The Kingston-Pembroke economic region experienced employment gains of 18,200 (+8.9%) between July 2018 and July 2019, leading to overall improved labour market conditions. The regional unemployment declined by 0.7 percentage points to reach 5.1%, while the participation rate reached 60.7% from 56.7% over the same period.

In the construction sector, work is starting at two dams on the Trent River in Quinte West that will be rehabilitated over the next three years at a cost of $63M. [71] Also, the Government of Canada has awarded an $8.5M contract to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to refuel the low-power reactor, SLOWPOKE-2, at the Royal Military College in Kingston. [72] Meanwhile, on the job loss front, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories have also announced layoffs of 150 workers at its nuclear facility in Chalk River as part of workforce adjustment. [73]

Employment also grew in the Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula and Stratford-Bruce Peninsula economic regions.

Employment declined in five economic regions in Ontario in July

The London economic region posted the largest employment decrease in Ontario over the year, falling by 15,400 (-4.5%) between July 2018 and 2019.

Despite these losses, the region saw a number of construction projects move forward. Work started on four high-rise residential buildings, [74] a new headquarters for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, [75] and the federal government investing $7.1M towards a 60-unit affordable-housing project, Residenza Ortona, for seniors and veterans in London. [76] The manufacturing industry received some positive news with the announcement of the federal government investment of nearly $5M in Element5 Co.'s new $32M cross-laminated timber plant in St. Thomas, which will create over 60 jobs. [77]

Employment figures fell by 6,600 (-2.6%) in the Northeast economic region over the year. The unemployment rate rose by 0.8 percentage points to 6.8%, the highest in Ontario.

Manufacturing received a boost from several investments including the federal government announcement of $28.8M in Domtar Inc., to support its $57.5 project to implement new equipment and processes at its pulp and speciality paper mill is Espanola, maintaining 430 jobs. [78] In addition, Tennaris Algoma Tubes received $16M to support its $36M expansion project at its seamless and welded steel pipe mills, creating 90 full-time jobs [79] along with Algoma Steel Inc. investing $300M in capital improvements [80] at its plants in Sault Ste. Marie. Several other construction announcements, such as work underway at a $16M Marriott Hotel [81] and $10.9M Cassells Street [82] reconstruction project in North Bay, also contributed to the employment gains.

Employment also fell in Muskoka-Kawarthas, Northwest, and Windsor-Sarnia economic regions.

Ontario Monthly Labour Force Statistics, by Economic Region
3-Month Moving Averages
Seasonally Unadjusted Data
Employment Unemployment Rate
July 2019
July 2018
Yearly Variation
July 2019
July 2018
Yearly Variation
(% points)
Ontario 7 524,4 7 352,5 2,3 5,7 5,9 -0,2
Economic Regions
Ottawa 749,9 719,6 4,2 5,0 4,8 0,2
Kingston - Pembroke 223,2 205,0 8,9 5,1 5,8 -0,7
Muskoka - Kawarthas 176,3 179,5 -1,8 5,9 6,1 -0,2
Toronto 3 693,4 3 573,0 3,4 6,0 6,5 -0,5
Kitchener - Waterloo - Barrie 764,2 739,3 3,4 5,3 5,3 0,0
Hamilton - Niagara Peninsula 765,3 760,8 0,6 5,3 5,5 -0,2
London 330,5 345,9 -4,5 5,7 5,9 -0,2
Windsor - Sarnia 303,2 303,7 -0,2 6,2 5,8 0,4
Stratford - Bruce Peninsula 161,7 160,4 0,8 3,8 3,0 0,8
Northeast 250,8 257,4 -2,6 6,8 6,0 0,8
Northwest 106,0 107,8 -1,7 5,6 4,9 0,7

* Totals may not add due to rounding
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey - Table 14-10-0293, formerly CANSIM 282-0122


In preparing this document, the authors have taken care to provide clients with labour market information that is timely and accurate at the time of publication. Since labour market conditions are dynamic, some of the information presented here may have changed since this document was published. Users are encouraged to also refer to other sources for additional information on the local economy and labour market. Information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect official policies of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Prepared by: Labour Market Information (LMI) Directorate, Service Canada, Ontario
For further information, please contact the LMI team.
For information on the Labour Force Survey, please visit the Statistics Canada website.


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  74. De Bono, Norman. (2019, July 5). No slowing of highrise demand in downtown London. London Free Press. Retrieved from

  75. Brown, Dan. (2019, June 27). Middlesex-London Health Unit picks local builder for new home at CitiPlaza. London Free Press. Retrieved from  

  76. Juha, J. (2019, July 15). Federal government contributes $7M for new affordable seniors building. London Free Press. Retrieved from

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  80. Helwig, D. (2019, June 26). New Algoma Steel boss details $300M in capital improvements. Northern Ontario Business. Retrieved from

  81. Turl, J. (2019, June 28). New luxury hotel coming to North Bay. Northern Ontario Business. Retrieved from

  82. Dawson, C. (2019, July 16). Cassells construction begins today. BayToday. Retrieved from

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