Quick facts

In August 2021:

  • There were 12.4 million people in Ontario aged 15 years or older
    • 8.0 million (65.0%) were in the labour force, including those who had worked, were unemployed and looking for work or did not work at their job, which includes people on temporary layoff because of ongoing COVID-related business closures. The labour force increased in August (18,600 or 0.2%) compared to July.
    • 7.4 million (60.1%) were employed, up by 53,000 (0.7%) from July.
  • Ontario's unemployment rate decreased to 7.6% in August from 8.0% in July and 607,500 people were unemployed, down 5.4% (-34,400) from July.

Important note:

This report is based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a household survey carried out by Statistics Canada. August’s LFS results cover labour market conditions as of the week of August 15 to 21.

Ontario’s mandatory closure of non-essential businesses and other measures aimed at addressing the impact of covid 19 took effect on March 24, 2020.

Ontario moved to Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan on July 16, which includes the resumption of indoor dining, entertainment and recreational activities. Public health and workplace safety measures are in place for specific sectors and settings in Step 3.

The types of businesses that were deemed essential and remained open during the covid 19 economic shutdown and the types of businesses that reopened at the different stages of the Ontario government’s plan for reopening the economy should be considered in the context of information provided in this report.

Employment increased in August

Employment in Ontario increased for the third consecutive month in August (53,000 or 1.0%) in August, following an increase of 72,400 (1.0%) in July.

In August, employment in Ontario was 7,426,100 and 65,000 (-0.9%) behind its pre-COVID-19 February 2020 level.

Chart 1 shows employment in Ontario from January 2005 to August 2021.

Line graph for chart 1 shows employment in Ontario from January 2005 to August 2021.
https://www.ontario.ca/files/2021-10/mltsd_labour_market_chart1_august_en.png

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0287-01, (seasonally adjusted data).

Download data, chart 1

Full-time vs. part-time

Part-time jobs accounted for most of job increase in August (45,700 or 3.4%), while full-time jobs increased by 7,400 (0.1%).

Employment change by sex and age

August’s employment increase was 38,500 (1.1%) for women and 14,500 (0.4%) for men. With August’s gains, employment among women was 0.5% (-16,900) behind its pre-COVID February 2020 level and employment among men was 1.2% (-48,100) behind.

Youth employment (ages 15-24) increased by 26,500 (2.7%) in August, following an increase of 42,500 (4.6%) in July. Employment for people aged 25 to 54 increased by 8,500 (0.2%) in August, following an increase of 47,200 (1.0%) in July. Employment for those aged 55 and older increased by 18,200 (1.1%) in August, following a decrease of 17,400 (1.1%) in July.

In August, youth employment remained 2.7% (-27,900) behind its pre-COVID February 2020 level. Employment among those aged 25-54 was close to pre-COVID February 2020 level (-0.1% or -5,200), while employment among those aged 55 and over was 1.9% (-31,800) behind.

Employment in Canada increased by 90,200 (0.5%) in August after increasing by 94,000 (0.5%) in July and was 156,200 (0.8%) behind its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

Employment change by industry

The government’s restrictions on the types of businesses that were deemed essential and other measures aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 should be considered in the context of employment change by sector.

In August, employment in other services (except public administration) was furthest behind its pre-COVID February 2020 level (-39,200 or -12.9%), followed by accommodation and food services (-29,600 or -6.7%), construction (-29,200 or -5.2%), business, building and other support services (-28,300 or -8.7%) and transportation and warehousing (-25,000 or -6.3%).

Employment was furthest above pre-COVID February 2020 levels in professional, scientific and technical services (80,600 or 12.0%), educational services (19,900 or 3.7%), public administration (18,400 or 4.7%) and manufacturing (6,100 or 0.8%).

Chart 2 shows industries by employment change in Ontario, February 2020 to August 2021.

 Bar graph for chart 2.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0355-02, (seasonally adjusted data).

Download data, chart 2

Unemployment rate decreased to 7.6%

Chart 3 shows unemployment rates, Ontario and Canada, January 2005 to August 2021.

Line graph for Chart 3.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0287-01, (seasonally adjusted data).

Download data, chart 3

Ontario’s unemployment rate in August was 7.6%, down from 8.0% in July and was at its lowest rate since March 2020 (7.4%). The unemployment rate in February 2020 was 5.5%.

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 7.1% in August from 7.5% in July. Canada’s unemployment rate in February 2020 was 5.7%.

Unemployment rate by sex and age

The unemployment rate for women was 7.1% in August, down from 7.4% in July, while the rate for men fell to 8.0% from 8.5% during the same period.

In Ontario, the unemployment rate among population groups designated as visible minorities was estimated at 10.8% in August in comparison to a 7.5% rate for non-visible minorities and those that did not identify as Indigenous (data are for the population aged 15 to 69 and are not adjusted for seasonality).

For individuals aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate decreased to 13.8% in August from 14.5% in July. The youth unemployment rate reached a record high of 30.0% in May 2020.

The unemployment rate for individuals aged 25 to 54 was 6.3% in August, down from 6.5% in July, while the rate for those aged 55 and older decreased to 7.1% from 8.2%.

Long-term unemployment

In August, an average of 152,900 Ontarians or 25.2% of all unemployed people were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer (long-term unemployed). This was down from 170,600 in July and more than two times the pre-COVID February 2020 level of 68,800

The average time in unemployment was 23.1 weeks in August 2021 compared to 15.9 weeks in February 2020.

Chart 4 shows the number of people unemployed for 27 week or more in Ontario, January 2005 to August 2021.

Line graph for Chart 4.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0342-01, (seasonally adjusted data).

Download data, chart 4

Employment and unemployment in urban centres

Employment change in urban centres

Chart 5 shows employment change for Ontario Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) from July 2021 to August 2021.

Line graph for chart 5

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0380-01, (seasonally adjusted data three-month moving average to reduce volatility caused by small sample size).

Download data, chart 5

Toronto (70,600 or 2.1%) led employment gains among the sixteen Ontario Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) between July and August, followed by St. Catharines-Niagara (7,200 or 7.2%), Hamilton (4,700 or 1.2%) and Oshawa (4,200 or 2.1%). Employment level notably fell in Ottawa-Gatineau (-5,500 or -0.9%).

In August, employment in 11 of the 16 Ontario urban centres remained below pre-COVID February 2020 levels, led by Toronto (-53,100 or -1.5%), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (-13,600 or -4.1%), Belleville (-11,200 or -19.2%) and Barrie (-9,400 or -7.4%).

London (10,900 or 4.0%), Ottawa-Gatineau (8,200 or 1.4%), Guelph (6,900 or 8.0%) and Peterborough (5,400 or 9.3%) reported employment that was above pre-COVID February 2020 levels.

Lowest and highest unemployment rates in urban centres

Chart 6 shows Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) with highest and lowest unemployment rates in Canada, July 2021.

Bar graph for chart 6.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Table 14-10-0380-02, (seasonally adjusted data three-month moving average to reduce volatility caused by small sample size).

Download data, chart 6

Windsor recorded the highest unemployment rate in Canada in August (10.6%), followed by St. Catharines-Niagara (10.5%).

Brantford recorded the lowest unemployment rate in Ontario in August (5.7%), while Victoria, Quebec City and Lethbridge were tied for the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.2%).

Download data

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

July 2021 Labour Market Report:

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