The Ontario Employment Picture: December, 2014 – Deteriorating

December’s job losses in the Canadian labour market of 89,800 exceeded the 58,400 jobs lost in November. Of this number, 36% were in Ontario which has 39% of Canada’s population. Analysis of the data shows that the public sector is responsible for 56% of the job growth in the province.

In this report we present our analysis of the Ontario labour market component of the total Canadian market using two sources of data from Statistics Canada: CANSIM Table 282-0087, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by sex and age group, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly, and CANSIM Table 282-0088, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), employment by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), seasonally adjusted and unadjusted. Data selection methodology is in the Appendix. The data we use is not seasonally adjusted*. Presentation and discussion of the data follows.

The High Level View

Table 282-0087 shows aggregate labour market statistics for Ontario. We have selected particular stats that we believe reflect on the province’s economic performance, and summarized them in Table 1.

Table 1. Current values and changes in labour market components, month-over-month (mom) and year-over-year (yoy) in thousands unless shown as a percent.

Labour Market Component current mom
yoy
Employment 6,937.9 -32.2 76.6
   Employment full-time 5,564.8 -31.4 49.8
   Employment part-time 1,373.1 -0.9 26.8
Unemployment rate 6.3% 0.0% -0.8%
Participation rate 65.4% -0.4% -0.6%
Employment rate 61.2% -0.3% 0.0%

Source: CANSIM Table 282-0087

Commentary

December employment data shows a continued deterioration in the Ontario economy. Another 31,400 full-time jobs were lost versus 900 part-time jobs lost. Although the ratio of full-time to part-time jobs in the labour market is roughly 4:1, the loss ratio is a disproportionate 35:1. This is certainly not an economically good occurrence.

Where the Jobs Are in the Economy

Table 282-0088 gives changes in employment by employment category as defined by the North American Industry Classification System. The high level breakdown is by Goods-producing sector and Services-producing sector. We present data in Table 2 below that is selected on the basis of relevance to our narrative or showing anomalous change.

Table 2. Changes in employment in industry sectors and sub-sectors, month-over-month (mom) and year-over-year (yoy) in thousands.

Sector and Sub-sector
mom yoy
Total employment -32.2 76.6
Goods-producing sector -26.3 44.3
    Agriculture 4.5 14.3
    Natural resources 4.9 9.6
    Construction -21.6 18.1
    Manufacturing -13.4 5.2
Services-producing sector -5.9 32.3
   Professional, scientific and technical -7.1 -26.1
   1. Educational services 3.7 32.2
   2. Health care and social assistance 1.3 30.4
   Accommodation and food services -22.6 13.9
   3. Public administration 11.8 -19.6

Source: CANSIM Table 282-0088

Commentary

Another 26,300 jobs were lost in the goods-producing sectors versus 5,900 jobs lost in the services-producing sectors in an economy where the sectoral ratio of goods to services is 1:2.6. Not only were a net number of jobs lost in December but, even more-so than in November, the skew of goods-producing to services-producing jobs lost was 4.5:1. As we noted in Blowin’ In The Wind, goods-producing jobs tend to be more highly paid than service-producing jobs by 30% on the average. This continuing skew indicates that the decline in the Ontario economy is deeper than job numbers alone suggest. Also, the 11,900 manufacturing jobs created in November were wiped out by the loss of 13,400 jobs in December.

With regards to services, we note that some job categories in the services sector that we don’t track showed more volatility in numbers this month than in the recent past.

Professional services continued their steady decline. We track them because we consider them to be the more highly paid services jobs outside of the public sector. Public sector jobs increased by 16,800 (the three enumerated categories). This is also not positive economically because although they do represent income that flows into the economy, an even larger amount must be taken from provincial net income through taxes to pay for these jobs. This in an environment where revenue from taxes is declining as the economy sheds jobs on a net basis.

Finally, if we note that job growth in the three public sectors over the last year is 43,000 out of a total job growth of 76,600, we find that the public sector is responsible for 56% of the job growth in the province.

 Summary

The key points of the December jobs data are:

  • Ontario lost 31,400 full-time jobs and 900 part-time jobs;
  • the goods-producing sector had a net loss of 26,300 jobs while manufacturing lost 5,900 jobs;
  • the public sector continued to grow with 11,800 government jobs; and
  • the annual increase in the combined public sector jobs represents 56% of all jobs created in Ontario over the last year.

The net job losses, particularly those that are full-time, points to a continued deterioration of the Ontario economy. There is a doubly negative aspect of this jobs picture because public sector jobs carry with them, high cost future pension and medical benefit obligations.

Related Links

Past month jobs reports:

Initial reports:

  1. The Real Job Situation in Ontario: Ugly (June 2014 job report) with a discussion on seasonal adjustment.
  2. Beauty and the Beast: Mom’s Latest Child (July 2014 job report).

Other reports on Ontario jobs:

Appendix

These tables have an interactive front-end that allows for selecting what and how data is to be presented. For Table 282-0087 we will use the default settings with the following exceptions:

  1. In Step 1 we deselect “Canada” and select “Ontario”.
  2. In Step 5 we deselect  “Seasonally adjusted” and select “Unadjusted”.*
  3. In Step 6 we select the current month and year of one year previous. This gives us a full year of data.
  4. In Step 8 click “Apply” to populate the table.

For Table 282-0088 we will use the default settings with the following exceptions:

  1. In Step 1 we deselect “Canada” and select “Ontario”.
  2. In Step 3 we deselect  “Seasonally adjusted” and select “Unadjusted”.*
  3. In Step 4 we select the current month and year of one year previous. This gives us a full year of data.
  4. In Step 6 click “Apply” to populate the table.

*For a discussion on seasonal adjustment see initial report #1 under the links at the end. We consider a year-over-year change as one that includes most cyclical and seasonal effects and use these figures on the unadjusted data for discussion purposes.

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