January to March, 2022
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About the Ontario Employment Report
The Ontario Employment Report is released four times a year and provides an assessment of the current trends and developments in the Ontario labour market. The Ontario Employment Report is a companion report to the Ontario Economic Accounts, which provides an overall assessment of the current state of the Ontario economy.
In the current issue, year-over-year change represents change between the averages in the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. Note that the Ontario Economic Accounts report primarily shows changes between the previous and the current quarter.
This report uses seasonally adjusted data in charts displaying data with a monthly frequency in the Overview section.
Unadjusted data are used in charts and tables showing the changes for the current quarter compared with the same quarter for the previous year. Unadjusted data are also used to calculate annual averages, year-to-date averages and 2022 first quarter averages.
All estimates in this report are based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS), which measures the current state of the national provincial and territorial labour market. The LFS is based on a household survey carried out monthly by Statistics Canada in reference weeks of the month. The reference periods for the three months of the first quarter of 2022 are January 9 to 15, February 13 to 19 and March 13 to 19.
Impact of COVID‑19 on the labour market
Beginning in mid-March 2020, travel restrictions, business closures and physical distancing measures were put in place by various levels of government to help contain the spread of COVID‑19 and protect the health of Ontarians. These restrictions and public health measures were in place to varying degrees throughout 2020 and 2021.
Starting January 5, 2022, Ontario temporarily moved the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen
Ontario’s labour market overview
- +418,200 net jobs in Q1 2022, year-over-year
- +251,900 net full-time jobs in Q1 2022, year-over-year
- +35,100 net jobs in March 2022
- +65,500 full-time jobs in March 2022
- 6.2% in the first quarter of 2022
- 5.3% in March 2022
Year-over-year, Ontario’s employment increased by 5.9% (+418,200) in the first quarter of 2022, while Canada’s employment increased by 4.8% (+869,700). Employment in Ontario in the first quarter of 2022 was 4.7% higher than in the same quarter in 2019, prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Ontario’s unemployment rate was 6.2% in the first quarter of 2022, slightly higher than the Canadian rate of 6.1%. It was 2.9 percentage points lower than in the first quarter of 2021 and the same as in the first quarter of 2020.
In March 2022, Ontario’s employment increased by 0.5% (+35,100), following an increase of 2.6% in February 2022. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, employment growth (+3.0%) exceeded labour force growth (+2.8%). Canada’s employment increased by 0.4% (+72,500), exceeding its pre-pandemic level by 2.3%.
In March 2022, the unemployment rate in both Ontario and Canada decreased by 0.2 percentage point from 5.5% to 5.3%. Ontario’s unemployment was also below its pre-pandemic level of February 2020 (5.5%) for the first time.
Ontario’s labour market, 2008-2022
Between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022:
- employment gains were concentrated in both full-time employment (+251,900, +4.3%) and part-time employment (+166,300, +13.6%);
- employment increased in the private sector (+7.0%), the public sector (+5.4%) and for those who are self-employed (+1.8%);
- employment increased in services-producing industries (+6.6%) and goods-producing industries (+3.0%);
- employment increased in every region with the Greater Toronto Area (+7.7%) experiencing the highest rate of employment growth; and
- employment increased for all age groups with youth experiencing the highest rate of employment growth (+11.7%) compared to other age groups.
Type of Work quarterly details
Employment change by work status
Year-over-year, part-time employment increased by 13.6% and full-time employment increased by 4.3% in the first quarter of 2022.
Overall, part-time workers have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic as they are more likely to work in industries that experienced the largest declines in employment, including accommodation and food services and retail trade. As of March 2022, employment in Ontario exceeded its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 by 3.3% for full-time work and 1.8% for part-time work.
Employment change by employment sector
Year-over-year, employment increased by 7.0% for the private sector, 5.4% for the public sector
Throughout the pandemic, self-employed workers experienced relatively higher employment losses and their employment has been slower to recover. As of March 2022, self-employment (-60,300 or -5.1%) was still significantly below its pre-COVID level.
Employment change by above-average wage and below-average wage industries
Year-over-year, paid employment increased in below-average wage industries by 5.1% and employment in above-average wage industries increased by 8.7%.
Sector and occupation quarterly details
Employment change by industry, goods-producing industries
Employment in goods-producing industries increased in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. The overall gain was driven by increases in construction (+9.4%) and utilities (+17.3%), while forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas experienced the largest rate of employment growth (+18.0%). Employment declined in manufacturing (-2.4%) and agriculture (-2.0%).
Employment change by industry, services-producing industries
In the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, employment increased in all services-producing industries, except for other services (excluding public administration) (-11.7%). Among services-producing industries, wholesale and retail trade (+11.2%) experienced the largest employment gains followed by professional, scientific and technical services (+11.7%), and accommodation and food services (+16.1%), which also experienced the highest rate of employment growth.
Employment change by occupational group
Year-over-year, employment increased in every broad occupational group, except occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport (-6.2%) and manufacturing and utilities (-1.3%). Sales and service occupations (+9.0%) experienced the largest increase in employment followed by business, finance and administration occupations (+9.5%), natural and applied sciences and related occupations (+11.5%) and management occupations (+11.3%). Natural and applied sciences and related occupations (+11.5%) experienced the highest rate of employment growth in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021.
Employment change by Ontario region
Year-over-year, employment increased in all Ontario regions in the first quarter of 2022. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Unemployment rates by Ontario region
In the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate decreased in every region. The GTA had the highest unemployment rate (7.0%), while Eastern Ontario had the lowest unemployment rate (5.3%).
Participation rates by Ontario region
In the first quarter of 2022, the labour force participation rate varied among economic regions, ranging from 59.0% in Northern Ontario to 66.8% in the GTA.
Age and gender quarterly details
Employment change by age group and gender
Compared to the same quarter last year, employment increased for all age groups in the first quarter of 2022. Youth aged 15 to 24 posted the highest rate of employment growth (+11.7%), followed by core-aged workers aged 25 to 54 (+6.3%) and older workers aged 55 years and over (+1.9%).
Year-over-year, employment increased slightly more for males (+5.9%) than females (+5.8%).
Overall, employment losses during the COVID‑19 pandemic have been more severe for youth and women as they were more likely to work in industries that were heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as accommodation and food services and retail trade.
As of March 2022, employment of core-aged people and older workers surpassed its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 (+4.0% and +0.7% respectively), while employment of youth (-0.1%) was slightly below its pre-pandemic level.
As of March 2022, employment for males (+3.6%) and females (+1.7%) exceeded their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.
Unemployment rates by age group and gender
In the first quarter of 2022, youth had the highest unemployment rate (13.0%), followed by older people (5.5%) and core-aged people (5.1%). Compared to the same period last year, the unemployment rate decreased by 6.1 percentage points for youth, 2.5 percentage points for core-aged people and 2.0 percentage points for older people.
In the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate for females (6.3%) was slightly higher than that for males (6.2%). Compared to the same period last year, the unemployment rate decreased by 3.2 percentage points for males and 2.6 percentage points for females.
Participation rates by age group and gender
In the first quarter of 2022, core-aged people had the highest labour force participation rate (87.6%), followed by youth (57.0%) and older people (37.7%). Compared to the first quarter of 2021, the participation rate for youth and core-aged workers increased by 2.5 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points respectively but decreased by 0.9 percentage point for older people.
Men had a higher participation rate (69.1%) than women (59.9%) in the first quarter of 2022. Compared to the same period last year, the participation rate increased by 0.7 percentage point for males and 0.9 percentage point for females.
Education level and immigrant status quarterly details
Employment rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the first quarter of 2022, those with less than a high school diploma continued to have the lowest employment rate (59.0%), while those with a university degree recorded the highest employment rate (87.3%), followed by those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma (86.2%).
Year-over-year, the employment rate increased for all education levels, led by those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma (+6.4 percentage points).
Those born in Canada had the highest employment rate (85.0%), while recent immigrants had the lowest employment rate (77.1%).
Year-over-year, the employment rate increased for all groups by immigrant status, led by very recent immigrants (+7.6 percentage points).
Unemployment rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the first quarter of 2022, those with a university degree had the lowest unemployment rate (3.9%) while those with less than a high school diploma had the highest unemployment rate (12.1%). Year-over-year, the unemployment rate of core-aged people decreased for all education levels led by those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma (-3.7 percentage points).
Year-over-year, the unemployment rate also decreased for all groups by immigrant status. In the first quarter of 2022, those born in Canada had the lowest unemployment rate (4.5%), while very recent immigrants had the highest unemployment rate (8.9%).
Participation rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the first quarter of 2022, those with a university degree continued to have the highest participation rate (90.8%), while those with less than a high school diploma had the lowest participation rate (67.1%). Year-over-year, the participation rate increased for all groups except those with university attainment (-1.2 percentage points).
In the first quarter of 2022, recent immigrants had the lowest participation rate compared to very recent immigrants, established immigrants and those born in Canada. Year-over-year, the participation rate increased for all groups by immigrant status.
Wages quarterly details
Average hourly wages by employment status, 1997-2021
Over the last two decades, the average hourly wage increased in real terms
Hourly wage growth by type of work
In the first quarter of 2022, the average hourly wage of Ontario employees was $31.74, an increase of 2.7% from the first quarter of 2021.
The average hourly wage for part-time positions increased by 2.1%, while the average hourly wage for full-time workers increased by 3.3%.
Consumer Price Index inflation over the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021 was 6.3%.
Average hourly wage rate and wage growth by occupational group
Year-over-year, eight broad occupational groups experienced growth in average hourly wages - natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (+10.3%), occupations in manufacturing and utilities (+5.5%) and natural and applied sciences and related occupations (+5.4%). Two broad occupational groups experienced a decrease in average hourly wages - occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport (-4.5%) and business, finance and administration occupations (-0.1%).
Net employment between February 2020 and March 2022
Below are highlights (seasonally adjusted) of recent trends in Ontario’s labour market between February 2020 and March 2022.
Overview of annual employment ten-year review
|Total Labour Force (000)||7,238.7||7,325.1||7,345.3||7,343.0||7,408.9||7,506.5||7,608.9||7,816.3||7,766.0||8,006.8|
|Participation Rate (%)||66.0||66.1||65.7||65.1||64.9||64.7||64.3||64.9||63.6||64.9|
|Male Participation Rate (%)||70.7||70.5||70.2||70.0||69.6||69.3||68.8||69.5||68.4||69.7|
|Female Participation Rate (%)||61.5||61.9||61.3||60.5||60.4||60.2||60.1||60.4||58.9||60.2|
|Total Employment (000)||6,666.7||6,768.1||6,809.1||6,845.4||6,921.4||7,052.5||7,173.3||7,376.9||7,021.6||7,366.4|
|Employment-Population Ratio (%)||60.8||61.1||60.9||60.7||60.6||60.8||60.6||61.2||57.5||59.7|
|Male Employment (000)||3,470.1||3,508.9||3,549.1||3,583.9||3,622.6||3,692.1||3,760.6||3,874.7||3,722.1||3,885.7|
|Female Employment (000)||3,196.6||3,259.1||3,260.1||3,261.4||3,298.8||3,360.4||3,412.7||3,502.2||3,299.6||3,480.8|
|Part-Time (% of total)||19.2||19.5||19.4||18.8||18.9||19.0||18.5||18.7||17.4||17.6|
|Goods-Producing Sector Employment (000)||1,406.8||1,381.0||1,366.4||1,393.8||1,425.1||1,439.4||1,463.9||1,467.3||1,410.7||1,466.6|
|Services-Producing Sector Employment (000)||5,259.9||5,387.1||5,442.7||5,451.6||5,496.3||5,613.1||5,709.5||5,909.7||5,610.9||5,899.9|
|Private Sector Employment (000)||4,347.1||4,405.3||4,473.5||4,505.5||4,544.1||4,640.1||4,716.7||4,830.6||4,542.0||4,807.7|
|Public Sector Employment (000)||1,289.5||1,310.0||1,298.1||1,281.2||1,293.7||1,318.8||1,359.7||1,375.4||1,358.8||1,456.9|
|Self-Employment (%of total)||15.4||15.6||15.2||15.5||15.7||15.5||15.3||15.9||16.0||15.0|
|Total Unemployment (000)||572.0||557.1||536.1||497.6||487.5||454.0||435.5||439.4||744.4||640.4|
|Unemployment Rate (%)||7.9||7.6||7.3||6.8||6.6||6.0||5.7||5.6||9.6||8.0|
|Male Unemployment Rate (%)||8.2||8.0||7.5||7.0||6.8||6.3||5.7||5.8||9.2||8.0|
|Female Unemployment Rate (%)||7.5||7.2||7.1||6.5||6.3||5.8||5.7||5.5||10.0||8.0|
|Long-Term (27 wks+) (% of total)||22.8||23.1||22.9||20.0||20.0||19.5||16.9||15.0||14.7||28.3|
|Average Unemployment in Weeks||22.3||21.9||22.5||20.0||20.0||19.3||17.2||15.8||15.3||23.2|
|Youth Unemployment Rate (%)||16.6||15.9||15.2||14.3||13.7||12.2||11.8||12.0||22.0||15.7|
|25-54 y.o. Unemployment rate (%)||6.5||6.3||6.0||5.6||5.5||5.1||4.8||4.6||7.7||6.6|
|55+ y.o. Unemployment rate (%)||5.9||5.6||5.5||5.0||5.0||4.6||4.3||4.2||7.0||7.2|
|Average Weekly Wage Rate ($)||883.62||896.44||907.05||938.01||958.16||965.71||998.41||1033.38||1113.99||1133.90|
|Average Hourly Wage Rate ($)||24.10||24.50||24.81||25.58||26.13||26.38||27.28||28.26||30.24||30.82|
Employment by region (000)
|Greater Toronto Area||3,099.6||3,214.9||3,202.7||3,264.8||3,303.9||3,363.5||3,432.8||3,548.3||3,381.8||3,551.4|
Unemployment rate by region (%)
|Greater Toronto Area||8.8||8.2||8.0||7.1||7.0||6.5||6.2||6.0||10.7||9.0|
Total employment by CMA (000)
Greater Toronto Area
Overview of quarterly employment year-over-year
|Total Labour Force (000)||7,469.6||7,992.8||7,951.7||8,145.4||7,913.7||8,071.5||7,817.6||8,023.4|
|Participation Rate (%)||61.2||64.9||65.0||65.9||64.5||65.1||63.6||64.4|
|Male Participation Rate (%)||66.3||69.9||70.2||70.9||69.1||69.7||68.4||69.1|
|Female Participation Rate (%)||56.3||60.1||60.0||61.2||60.1||60.7||59.0||59.9|
|Total Employment (000)||6,533.5||7,273.4||7,070.2||7,485.0||7,236.4||7,601.7||7,105.6||7,523.9|
|- Full-time (000)||5,526.0||6,030.8||5,860.4||6,193.0||5,904.2||6,175.8||5,883.9||6,135.8|
|- Part-time (000)||1,007.4||1,242.6||1,209.7||1,292.1||1,332.2||1,426.0||1,221.8||1,388.1|
|Employment-Population Ratio (%)||53.6||59.0||57.8||60.6||59.0||61.3||57.8||60.4|
|Male Employment (000)||3,504.2||3,850.5||3,768.7||3,958.1||3,812.8||3,992.1||3,742.0||3,964.2|
|Female Employment (000)||3,029.3||3,422.9||3,301.4||3,526.9||3,423.5||3,609.7||3,363.6||3,559.7|
|Part Time (% of total)||15.4||17.1||17.1||17.3||18.4||18.8||17.2||18.4|
|Goods-Producing Sector Employment (000)||1,296.7||1,462.8||1,451.0||1,497.5||1,476.9||1,482.0||1,423.9||1,466.2|
|Services-Producing Sector Employment (000)||5,236.8||5,810.5||5,619.1||5,987.6||5,759.5||6,119.8||5,681.7||6,057.6|
|Private Sector Employment (000)||4,085.5||4,698.9||4,659.8||4,939.6||4,735.8||4,995.4||4,596.9||4,919.0|
|Public Sector Employment||1,316.4||1,440.9||1,312.7||1,434.6||1,399.9||1,517.3||1,434.8||1,511.9|
|Self-Employment (% of total)||17.3||15.6||15.5||14.8||15.2||14.3||15.1||14.5|
|Total Unemployment (000)||936.1||719.4||881.5||660.4||677.3||469.8||712.0||499.5|
|Unemployment Rate (%)||12.5||9.0||11.1||8.1||8.6||5.8||9.1||6.2|
|Male Unemployment Rate (%)||11.8||8.9||10.6||7.9||8.3||5.9||9.3||6.2|
|Female Unemployment Rate (%)||13.4||9.1||11.7||8.3||8.8||5.7||8.9||6.3|
|Long-Term (27 wks+) (% of total)||6.8||29.6||12.5||25.9||29.2||28.7||29.1||19.2|
|Average Unemployment in Weeks||11.8||23.2||15.6||24.0||20.1||24.5||21.8||21.5|
|Youth Unemployment Rate (%)||29.6||20.4||26.1||14.1||19.3||9.4||19.1||12.9|
|25-54 y.o Unemployment Rate (%)||10.1||6.9||8.5||6.8||6.9||5.0||7.7||5.1|
|55+ y.o Unemployment Rate (%)||9.1||7.7||7.7||7.7||6.6||6.0||7.5||5.5|
|Average Weekly Wage Rate ($)||1,157.31||1,134.02||1,122.04||1,128.59||1,109.06||1,137.66||1,135.33||1,168.67|
|Average Hourly Wage Rate ($)||31.18||30.83||30.33||30.55||30.21||31.01||30.89||31.74|
Employment by Region (000)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||3117.1||3457.8||3405.9||3633.2||3504.0||3723.7||3390.9||3653.6|
Unemployment Rate by Region (%)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||13.7||10.0||13.1||9.3||10.1||6.6||10.1||7.0|
Total Employment by CMA (000)
Greater Toronto Area
|Ottawa (Ontario part)||532.9||601.5||563.0||591.9||561.1||579.6||581.7||585.1|
Overview of monthly* labour force characteristics
Note: All estimates in this appendix are based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.
- footnote Back to paragraph Estimates of employment changes and rate calculations are based on unrounded quarterly estimates and may differ slightly from estimates based on published quarterly data due to rounding.
- footnote Back to paragraph The Roadmap to Reopen is the Province’s three-step plan to safely and gradually lift public health measures based on ongoing progress of provincewide vaccination rates and improvements of key public health and health care indicators. Ontario entered into Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen on June 11, 2021.
- footnote Back to paragraph The public sector includes employees in federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Aboriginal public administrations, as well as in Crown corporations, liquor control boards and other government institutions such as schools (including universities), hospitals and public libraries.
- footnote Back to paragraph This economic region closely matches the GTA, the main exception being that it excludes the city of Burlington.
- footnote Back to paragraph Real wages are based on nominal wages deflated by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items. Self-employment is excluded.
- footnote Back to paragraph Year-over-year comparison (between first quarters of 2021 and 2022) is in nominal dollars.
- footnote Back to paragraph Measured as an increase in the all-items Consumer Price Index for Ontario between January and March of 2021 and January and March of 2022.