Canada’s Labour Market Report for 2013 Brings Mixed Results

Ian Headshot Oct 2012Ian McLean
President + CEO
Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce published its Policy Brief on Employment last week entitled Canada’s Labour Market Sputtered in 2013. There were a number of important insights for the business community from the year past and also will take us into the rest of 2014.

Here are a few of the major points from the Canada’s Labour Market Sputtered in 2013 Report from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce:

  • Employment grew by 0.6%
  • 95% of the net jobs created were in part-time positions
  • All the net jobs created were in the services sector
  • More than 86,000 net new jobs were created in professional, scientific and technical services
  • Almost 70% of the net new jobs were concentrated in Alberta
  • Men and women aged 55+ posted the largest increase in employment
  • These are all high level, macro level bullet points, but here are some of the major issues pulled from the report that pertain to Ontario and Waterloo Region specifically.

Public Sector Shrinks as Entrepreneurship Grows

According to the CCC’s findings, in 2013 the public sector shrank by a sizable about. Public sector payrolls shrank by 25,600 while at the same time 4,100 more Canadians became entrepreneurs.

In total, 2.7 million Canadians were self-employed by the end of 2013 which represents 15% of those employed in Canada.

This shows that entrepreneurship is stronger than ever in Canada. We see this in Waterloo Region every day and not just in the high profile tech sector but across a number of industries from hospitality to professional services. The takeaway from this information is that we should be helping these budding businesses gain the knowledge and network base to thrive on their own.

The Demographic Disparity in Employment

Youth unemployment continues to be a major issue throughout 2013. The Unemployment rate for Canada’s Youth (15-24 years of age) topped out at 14%. This is a very minor improvement over 2012, but is still a major issue that we as a country need to address.

On the other side of the coin, workers 55-64 have seen a surge in participation in the workface up to 37.3% which is a stark increase from 2000. This is a human resource issue that is extremely complex given increased life expectancy rates, the economic pressure following the recession, and the need to continue saving towards retirement. As this demographic shift happens the generations below this age group will feel added stress in entering the workforce and will further influence students educated in the Region and where they plan on setting up their careers.

Industry Groups See Varied Changes

One of the most battered industries in Canada has continually been manufacturing. Ontario in particular is called out in the CCC’s Report, but I must stress that in Waterloo Region we are pocket of strong and diverse manufacturers. We are not Oshawa or Windsor. Our manufacturing sector in the Region is not centralized on the success of only specific sector or business given that we have automotive, food processing, precision tool and die, and specialty manufacturers in the Region. As our educational institutions produce top talent the manufacturing industry is also becoming more advanced.

While manufacturing is seen as in decline on a macro level in Ontario there has been job creation in 2013 adding 43,900 jobs. This group includes: legal services, accounts, architectural, engineering, design, scientific and technical consulting, scientific R&D, and advertising services. This is a sign that our diverse Regional economy is growing strong and maturing as we continue to sustain a stronger than average manufacturing sector.