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Ontario labour market remains stuck on precarity

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Photo: katie hargrave/flickr

Last Friday was jobs Friday -- the day that Statistics Canada's monthly job report is released -- and the numbers show Ontario's labour market remains stuck in a precarious state.

Ontario lost 34,000 jobs between May and June. On a year-over-year basis, Ontario created only 10,000 new jobs between June 2013 and June 2014.

Total year-over-year gain: 2,000 full-time jobs and 8,000 part-time jobs.

Not only that, but the increase in employment comes entirely in the 55-plus age bracket where employment increased by over 100,000 individuals (this age group also saw a population increase of 125,000).

Employment for those aged 25-54 dropped by almost 80,000 (despite a population increase of 25,000). Employment for young workers -- an age group that has seen growing crisis and attention over the last year -- declined by 16,500 on a year-over-year basis, and the loss of a full 29,000 jobs between May and June.

These numbers reinforce two trends that CCPA-Ontario has pointed out in the last year: 1) Ontario has a youth employment crisis (the employment rate has dropped 0.6 percentage points since June of last year); and 2) the employment rate for workers age 55-plus is increasing steadily.

A more in-depth gender breakdown shows that young women have experienced an increase in their employment rate over June of 2013 while young men have experienced a decline of 3 percentage points. The employment rate of young women is now actually 5.5 percentage points higher than the rate for men of the same age category.

The trend continues in the older worker category where the employment rate of women increased by 1.7 percentage points, while the rate of men increased by 1.5 percentage points over the same month in the previous year.

The working-aged population, on the other hand saw their employment rate declined slightly. Women in this age category saw a significantly larger decrease than men.

Across the province

Ontario's unemployment rate rolled back to 7.5 per cent, the same rate as seen in June of 2013. It's a rate that leaves Ontario in the middle of the pack when it comes to unemployment. Newfoundland is home to the highest rate in the country at 12.5 per cent while Saskatchewan and Alberta hold first and second place at 3.9 and 4.9 per cent respectively.

Peterborough is tied for first place with Saguenay, Quebec as CMA with the highest unemployment rate across the country at 9.7 per cent. Windsor follows in third place with an unemployment rate of 9 per cent.

The employment rate in Windsor declined slightly to 54.8 per cent. The city now holds the position of second worse employment rate in the country -- second only to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

In a bout of good news, London's employment rate increased for the third month in a row and now sits at 57.7 per cent (note: that's still low, but certainly an improvement).

Windsor, Hamilton, Guelph and Toronto all saw increases in the unemployment rate, while the rest of Ontario's cities either held steady or saw declines.

Public vs. private sector jobs

Year-over-year employment continues to show a decline in public sector jobs, coupled with an increase in private sector employment -- where we continue to see part-time work increase.

The decline in public sector work, which traditionally is of higher quality than the private sector, continues to be troubling.

It is also worth noting that the self-employed category has also declined slightly, though there has been an increase of 20,000 people who are self-employed though they remain unincorporated and have no employees.

Overall, the month of June continued a number of troubling trends that we have pointed out in the past: youth unemployment remains in crisis, the labour force participation rate of older workers is increasing, unincorporated self-employment with no employees continues to grow, and part-time work is growing faster than full-time employment.

Ontario remains stuck on the precarity treadmill.

Kaylie Tiessen is an economist with the Ontario Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA Ontario). Follow her on Twitter @KaylieTiessen

Photo: katie hargrave/flickr

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