Ontario job market undergoing seismic shift: report

March 14, 2014

TORONTO – Ontario's labour market woes can't be blamed on a recession hangover – the underlying trouble is a long-term, seismic shift that requires new policy answers, says a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Ontario (CCPA-Ontario).

Seismic Shift: Ontario's Changing Labour Market examines Ontario's labour market since 2000 – the height of the Canadian dollar and the beginning of the province's manufacturing decline. It finds the very nature of work is changing – rapidly.

"Ontario's workplaces are transforming," says CCPA-Ontario economist Kaylie Tiessen. "The problems can't be blamed on a recession hangover. It goes deeper than that. Long-term manufacturing job losses, coupled with a dramatic rise in service sector jobs, is creating a seismic shift from secure, middle-income jobs to a more polarized labour market."

Key trends highlighted in the report:

  • Ontario's well-paying manufacturing sector went from the bedrock of the economy at 18% of the labour market in 2000 to 11% by 2013 – a loss of 290,000 jobs;
  • The growth in jobs was concentrated in the service sector – it represented 73% of jobs in 2000 and but rose to 79% in 2013;
  • Involuntary part-time employment rose by 43% since 2000;
  • Temporary and part-time work grew faster than full-time work;
  • The recession wreaked more havoc: there remain 270,000 missing jobs since 2008;
  • Ontario's long-term unemployment rate remains one of the worst in the country – there are 125,000 more unemployed workers in Ontario than before the recession.

The study finds no Ontario region is being spared from the seismic shift, although some are weathering the storm better than others. Every region lost at least 18% of their manufacturing jobs since 2000, while job gains vary wildly by region. "Policy makers have to consider that economic conditions are less favourable than in 2000," says Tiessen.

"The policy solutions of the 1990s reflect an understanding of a bygone era. It's time for a new conversation about jobs in Ontario."

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Seismic Shift: Ontario's Changing Labour Market is available on the CCPA: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/ontario.

For more information please contact: Trish Hennessy, CCPA-Ontario: (416)525-4927 or [email protected].