July to September, 2020
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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 third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2020. 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 is used in charts and tables showing the changes for the current quarter compared with the same quarter for the previous year. Unadjusted data is also used to calculate annual averages, year-to-date averages and 2020 third 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 third quarter of 2020 are July 12 to 18, August 9 to August 15 and September 13 to 19.
Impact of COVID-19 on the labour market
Beginning in mid-March 2020, a number of 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. As a result of the pandemic, Ontario experienced an unprecedented decline in employment during the period between February and May. In June, employment started to rebound reflecting the early stages of reopening the provincial economy.
The third quarter of 2020 included data from July through September, during which the gradual reopening of the economy continued
Appendix I of this report provides highlights of recent trends and challenges in Ontario’s labour market as a result of COVID-19 between February and September.
Ontario’s labour market overview
- -408,400 net jobs in Q3 2020, year-over-year
- -307,900 net full-time jobs in Q3 2020, year-over-year
- +167,600 jobs in September 2020
- +182,400 full-time jobs in September 2020
- 11.0% in the third quarter of 2020
- 9.5% in September 2020
Year-over-year, Ontario’s employment, decreased by 5.4% (-408,400) in the third quarter of 2020, while Canada’s employment decreased by 5.1% (-975,600).
In September 2020, Ontario’s employment increased by 2.4% (+167,600), and Canada’s employment also increased by 2.1% (+378,200).
Ontario’s unemployment rate was 11.0% in the third quarter of 2020, higher than the Canadian rate of 10.2%.
In September 2020, Ontario’s unemployment rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points (from 10.6% to 9.5%) and Canada’s unemployment rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points (from 10.2% to 9.0%).
Ontario’s labour market, 2008-2020
As a result of the pandemic’s unprecedented economic disruption, between the third quarter of 2019 and 2020:
- the decline in employment reflected decreases in both full-time employment (-307,900, -5.0%) and part-time (-100,500, -7.6%) jobs.
- employment declined more sharply for those who are self-employed (-9.1%) compared to those in the private sector (-5.6%) and the public sector (-1.4%).
- employment decreased in both the goods-producing industries (-4.3%) and services-producing industries (-5.7%), with the accommodation and food services sector experiencing the largest decline in employment (-26.0%).
- all five Ontario regions posted employment losses with the GTA experiencing the largest decline in employment (-5.3%).
- youth experienced the largest decline in employment (-16.2%) compared to other age groups.
Type of work quarterly details
Year-over-year, full-time employment decreased by 5.0% and part-time employment decreased by 7.6% in the third quarter of 2020.
Part-time workers have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic as they are more likely to work in industries that experienced the largest decline in employment, including accommodation and food services and retail trade.
Year-over-year, private sector employment decreased by 5.6%, public sector employment decreased by 1.4% and self-employment decreased by 9.1%.
Year-over-year, paid employment decreased in above-average wage industries by 0.7%, while employment in below-average wage industries decreased by 8.5%.
Sector and occupation quarterly details
Employment change by industry, goods-producing industries
Employment in the majority of goods-producing industries declined in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. The only exception was in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas, which saw employment grow by 2.9%. Construction had the largest decline in employment (-6.7%) followed by manufacturing (-2.7%), agriculture (-5.4%) and utilities (-6.2%).
Employment change by industry, services-producing industries
Employment in the majority of service-producing industries declined in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Among services-producing industries, finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+2.2%) and public adiministation (+1.4%) were the only industries that gained jobs over this period.
Accommodation and food services (-26.0%) lost the highest number of jobs compared to the third quarter of 2019 followed by transportation and warehousing (-12.5%), wholesale and retail trade (-4.2%) and health care and social assistance (-3.5%).
Employment change by occupational group
Among broad occupational groups, natural and applied sciences and related occupations (+6.1%) and occupations in health (+2.1%) gained employment in the third quartet of 2020 compared to the third quarter of 2019. Employment in natural resources, agriculture and related occupations remained relatively unchanged. Employment in sales and service occupations (-10.0%) experienced the largest decline followed by occupations in trade, transport and equipment operators (-8.1%) and management occupations (-10.9%) .
Employment change by Ontario region
Year-over-year, employment declined across all Ontario regions. The rate of employment decline was the largest in Eastern Ontario (-7.1%) followed by Southwestern Ontario (-5.5%), the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Unemployment rates by Ontario region
In the third quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate increased in every region. The GTA had the highest unemployment rate (13.0%), while Northern Ontario had the lowest unemployment rate (7.9%).
Participation rates by Ontario region
The quarterly labour force participation rate varied among economic regions. In the third quarter of 2020, the participation rate ranged from 59.5% in Northern Ontario to 67.7% in the GTA.
Age and gender quarterly details
Employment change by age group and gender
Compared to the same quarter last year, employment declined among all age groups. Employment among core-aged workers (25 to 54 years) decreased the most (-3.7%), followed by youth aged 15 to 24 years (-16.2%) and older workers aged 55 years and over (-3.6%).
Year-over-year, male employment decreased by 5.0% and female employment decreased by 5.9%.
Employment losses during the COVID-19 pandemic were more severe for youth. As a group, youth are more likely to work in industries that were heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as accommodation and food services and retail trade.
Unemployment rates by age group and gender
In the third quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate for youth (15 to 24 years) was 26.7% and remained the highest among the three age groups. The unemployment rate for core-aged (25 to 54 years) and older people (55 years and over) was 8.5% and 7.6%, respectively. Compared to the same time last year, the unemployment rate increased by 14.0 percentage points for youth, by 3.7 percentage points for core-aged people and by 3.5 percentage points for older people.
In the third quarter of 2020, unemployment rate for females (11.7%) was higher than that for males (10.5%). Compared to the same time last year, the unemployment rate increased by 5.4 percentage points for females and 5.0 percentage points for males.
Participation rates by age group and gender
In the third quarter of 2020, core-aged workers had the highest participation rate at 85.4%, followed by youth (66.2%) and older workers (37.8%). Compared to the previous year, the participation rate decreased among all age groups and for both males and females (by 0.8 and 0.9 percentage points, respectively).
Education level and immigrant status quarterly details
Employment rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the third quarter of 2020, those with less than a high school diploma continued to have the lowest employment rate (54.9%), while those with a university degree recorded the highest employment rate (82.6%), followed by those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma (81.6%).
Year-over-year, those with less than a high school diploma experienced the sharpest decline in their employment (-12.5%).
Those born in Canada recorded the highest employment rate (80.8%), while very recent immigrants continued to have the lowest employment rate (69.4%).
Unemployment rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the third quarter of 2020, those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma recorded the lowest unemployment rate (7.3%) while those with a high school diploma had the highest unemployment rate (11.8%). Year-over-year, the unemployment rate of core-aged people for all education levels increased.
Year-over-year, the unemployment rate increased for all groups by immigrant status. In the third quarter of 2020, those born in Canada recorded the lowest unemployment rate (7.3%), while very recent immigrants had the highest unemployment rate (12.5%).
Participation rates by education level and immigrant status (core-aged population)
In the third quarter of 2020, those with a university degree continued to record the highest participation rate (89.5%), while those with less than a high school diploma had the lowest participation rate (61.1%). Year-over-year, the participation rate decreased for all education levels except for those with less than a high school diploma (+1.8 percentage points).
In the third quarter of 2020, recent immigrants and very recent immigrants continued to have the lowest participation rate compared to established immigrants and those born in Canada. Year-over-year, the participation rate increased for very recent immigrants (+6.3 percentage points) and decreased for established and recent immigrants and those born in Canada.
Wages quarterly details
Average hourly wages by employment status, 1997-2019
Over the last two decades, the average hourly wage increased in real terms
Hourly wage growth by type of work
In the third quarter of 2020, the average hourly wage of Ontario employees was $30.49, an increase of 7.2% from the third quarter of 2019.
Hourly wages for full-time employees and part-time employees increased by 6.8% and 5.1%, respectively.
Consumer Price Index inflation over the same period was 0.2%.
Average hourly wage rate and wage growth by occupational group
Year-over-year, all broad occupational groups experienced growth in average hourly wages. The three broad occupational groups that experienced the highest wage growth were: education, law and social, community and government services (+9.4%), manufacturing and utilities (+8.1%) and sales and service (+7.7%).
Employment rebounded as the economy started to reopen, but remained below February levels
Beginning in mid-March 2020, a number of 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. As a result of the pandemic, Ontario experienced an unprecedented decline in employment during the period between February and May.
In June, employment started to rebound reflecting the early stages of reopening the provincial economy.
The third quarter of 2020 included data from July, August and September, during which employment continued to grow.
Below are highlights (seasonally adjusted) of recent trends in Ontario’s labour market between February and September 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
Overview of annual employment ten-year review
|Total Labour Force (000)||7,160.9||7,227.4||7,276.4||7,383.8||7,418.6||7,426.1||7,489.5||7,579.8||7,673.0||7,890.6|
|Participation rate (%)||66.8||66.6||66.2||66.3||65.8||65.2||65.0||64.9||64.5||65.1|
|Male participation rate (%)||71.1||71.1||70.7||70.5||70.3||70||69.5||69.2||68.7||69.6|
|Female participation rate (%)||62.8||62.3||61.9||62.2||61.6||60.7||60.7||60.7||60.5||60.7|
|Total employment (000)||6,537.8||6,658.4||6,702.6||6,823.4||6,877.9||6,923.2||6,999.6||7,128.0||7,242.4||7,452.6|
|- Full-time (000)||5,256.1||5,373.5||5,412.0||5,489.5||5,540.0||5,618.2||5,672.6||5,778.7||5,909.0||6,065.8|
|- Part-time (000)||1,281.8||1,284.8||1,290.6||1,334.0||1,337.9||1,305.0||1,327.0||1,349.3||1,333.4||1,386.8|
|Employment-population ratio (%)||61.0||61.4||60.9||61.2||61.0||60.8||60.7||61.0||60.9||61.4|
|Male employment (000)||3,363.6||3,450.4||3,471.5||3,522.8||3,567.1||3,607.1||3,635.9||3,700.9||3,763.9||3,894.7|
|Female employment (000)||3,174.2||3,207.9||3,231.1||3,300.6||3,310.8||3,316.1||3,363.7||3,427.1||3,478.5||3,557.9|
|Part-time (% of total)||19.6||19.3||19.3||19.6||19.5||18.8||19.0||18.9||18.4||18.6|
|Goods-producing sector employment (000)||1,380.6||1,408.7||1,415.3||1,397.5||1,382.0||1,401.4||1,418.1||1,432.6||1,453.1||1,467.8|
|Services-producing sector employment (000)||5,157.3||5,249.7||5,287.3||5,425.9||5,495.9||5,521.7||5,581.4||5,695.4||5,789.2||5,984.8|
|Private sector employment (000)||4,268.2||4,339.7||4,373.0||4,447.0||4,517.0||4,540.7||4,597.3||4,690.6||4,740.6||4,863.4|
|Public sector employment (000)||1,254.7||1,294.3||1,286.0||1,314.0||1,305.4||1,294.1||1,306.4||1,329.1||1,376.7||1,385.9|
|Self-employment (% of total)||15.5||15.4||15.6||15.6||15.3||15.7||15.7||15.5||15.5||16.1|
|Total unemployment (000)||623.1||569.1||573.8||560.3||540.7||502.9||489.9||451.8||430.7||438.0|
|Unemployment rate (%)||8.7||7.9||7.9||7.6||7.3||6.8||6.5||6.0||5.6||5.6|
|Male unemployment rate (%)||9.4||8.2||8.3||8.0||7.5||7||6.8||6.2||5.6||5.7|
|Female unemployment rate (%)||8.0||7.6||7.5||7.2||7.1||6.5||6.3||5.7||5.6||5.4|
|Long-term (27 weeks+) (% of total)||24.9||24.1||22.7||22.9||22.8||20.0||19.9||19.5||16.9||15.1|
|Average unemployment in weeks||22.0||22.4||22.2||21.8||22.4||20.0||19.9||19.3||17.2||15.9|
|Youth unemployment rate (%)||17.4||15.9||17.0||16.2||15.7||14.7||14.0||12.3||11.9||12.1|
|25-54 y.o. unemployment rate (%)||7.3||6.5||6.4||6.2||5.9||5.6||5.4||5.0||4.7||4.6|
|55+ y.o. unemployment rate (%)||6.4||6.0||5.8||5.5||5.3||4.9||4.9||4.5||4.2||4.1|
|Average weekly wage rate ($)||842.35||862.45||883.12||895.56||907.17||938.09||958.5||967.44||1,001.74||1,036.51|
|Average hourly wage rate ($)||23.09||23.55||24.09||24.48||24.82||25.59||26.15||26.43||27.36||28.34|
Employment by region (000)
|Greater Toronto Area||3,034.6||3,077.8||3,112.3||3,240.2||3,241.1||3,320.4||3,373.2||3,442.9||3,521.6||3,652.9|
Unemployment rate by region (%)
|Greater Toronto Area||9.2||8.4||8.8||8.2||8.0||7.1||6.9||6.4||6.1||5.9|
Total employment by CMA (000)
Greater Toronto Area
Overview of quarterly employment year-over-year
|Total labour force (000)||7,682.1||7,917.9||7,728.0||7,804.0||7,913.8||7,523.2||8,002.8||8,011.4|
|Participation rate (%)||64.1||64.8||64.2||63.6||65.4||61.1||65.8||64.9|
|Male participation rate (%)||68.4||69.0||68.6||68.0||70.0||66.2||70.8||70.0|
|Female participation rate (%)||60.0||60.7||60.0||59.3||61.0||56.2||61.0||60.1|
|Total employment (000)||7,302.7||7,535.2||7,268.2||7,317.0||7,472.1||6,583.0||7,535.0||7,126.6|
|- Full-time (000)||5,909.0||6,089.8||5,858.2||5,955.2||6096.2||5569.6||6,218.9||5,911.0|
|- Part-time (000)||1,393.7||1,445.4||1,409.9||1,361.8||1375.9||1013.4||1,316.1||1,215.6|
|Employment-population ratio (%)||60.9||61.6||60.4||59.6||61.8||53.5||61.9||57.7|
|Male employment (000)||3,794.3||3,919.1||3,771.2||3,827.7||3,906.0||3520.9||3,982.6||3,783.6|
|Female employment (000)||3,508.4||3,616.1||3,497.0||3,489.3||3,566.1||3062.1||3,552.4||3,343.1|
|Part-time (% of total)||19.1||19.2||19.4||18.6||18.4||15.4||17.5||17.1|
|Goods-producing sector employment (000)||1,463.0||1,474.2||1,411.0||1,422.8||1,474.0||1,296.4||1,512.0||1,446.4|
|Services-producing sector employment (000)||5,839.7||6,061.0||5,857.2||5,894.1||5,998.1||5,286.6||6,023.0||5,680.3|
|Private sector employment (000)||4,774.8||4,885.3||4,751.6||4,729.6||4872.6||4101.4||4,944.3||4,666.6|
|Public sector employment (000)||1,385.1||1,435.4||1,368.5||1,413.3||1389.3||1330.7||1,350.5||1,332.3|
|Self-employment (% of total)||15.6||16.1||15.8||16.0||16.2||17.5||16.5||15.8|
|Total unemployment (000)||379.4||382.7||459.8||487.0||441.7||940.2||467.8||884.8|
|Unemployment rate (%)||4.9||4.8||5.9||6.2||5.6||12.5||5.8||11.0|
|Male unemployment rate (%)||5.2||5.0||6.6||6.3||5.7||11.7||5.4||10.5|
|Female unemployment rate (%)||4.6||4.6||5.3||6.2||5.5||13.4||6.3||11.7|
|Long-term (27 weeks+) (% of total)||17.3||16.4||16.0||14.3||14.4||6.9||13.8||12.8|
|Average unemployment in weeks||17.5||17.6||16.6||15.4||15.5||11.8||14.1||15.7|
|Youth unemployment rate (%)||10.8||10.5||12.4||12.3||12.5||29.5||12.7||26.7|
|25-54 y.o. unemployment rate (%)||4.2||4.1||5.0||5.5||4.5||10.1||4.8||8.5|
|55+ y.o. unemployment rate (%)||3.5||3.4||4.9||4.8||4.2||9.2||4.1||7.6|
|Average weekly wage rate ($)||1,000.7||1,047.6||1,014.3||1,074.9||1,035.1||1,162.4||1,048.3||1128.0|
|Average hourly wage rate ($)||27.5||28.7||27.9||29.4||28.3||31.3||28.5||30.5|
Employment by region (000)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||3,545.4||3,684.9||3,563.5||3,603.6||3659.1||3205.7||3,704.3||3508.3|
Unemployment rate by region (%)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||5.5||5.0||6.4||6.2||5.9||13.6||6.2||13.0|
Total Employment by CMA (000)
Greater Toronto Area
|Ottawa (Ontario part)||553.7||614.1||564.9||572.3||575.2||533.7||606.2||563.1|
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 The government reopened Ontario in three stages. Ontario took a regional approach to reopening, with regions that demonstrated readiness based on trends in key public health indicators reopening first. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Stage 3 of reopening started on July 17 but was delayed in some regions, including Toronto. All regions in Ontario were allowed to move into Stage 3 as of August 12, 2020. Some measures remained in place, including physical distancing requirements and restrictions on large gatherings. Due to increases in COVID-19 cases, the province instituted new public health measures and restrictions as of September 19, including gathering limits for events at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Ottawa, Peel and Toronto public health unit regions entered in a modified Stage 2. On October 10, Ottawa, Peel and Toronto public health units were placed in a modified Stage 2. On October 19, York Region public health unit was also placed in a modified Stage 2. For more information on the reopening stages, please refer to the Reopening Ontario page
- footnote Back to paragraph By the LFS reference week in July, most provinces had eased COVID-19 restrictions, with the exception of some regions of Ontario, including Toronto. By mid-August, public health restrictions had eased across the country, including Ontario, and more businesses and workplaces re-opened.
- footnote Back to paragraph Low-wage workers are those with an hourly wage below $19.99.
- 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 third quarters of 2019 and 2020) is in nominal dollars.
- footnote Back to paragraph Measured as an increase in the all-items Consumer Price Index for Ontario between July and September of 2019 and July and September of 2020.