The Ontario Jobs Picture in March: Treading Water – Sharks Nibbling

This month we change our reporting format to more of a streamlined summary. For data we use the Ontario labour market component  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 and the rational for eschewing the use of seasonally adjusted data as reported by the media, for actual unadjusted data, can be found in the Appendix and Reference Links in The Lies My Mommy Told Me, Part III. All terms are explained in the CANSIM table footnotes and are not reproduced here.

The High Level View

CANSIM Table 282-0087 shows aggregate labour market statistics for Ontario. Ontario lost 500 jobs in March compared to a loss of 26,300 jobs for the same period a year ago. This is a positive sign but the data is too noisy to draw any conclusions of a trend based on a single month. Overall however, there were 29,500 jobs added Canada-wide in March. So the job growth was not in Ontario. The Ontario unemployment rate jumped from 6.8 to 7.1% while the national rate held steady at 7.7%.

While overall Ontario employment numbers are essentially flat we find that the change in the makeup of the labour force has a positive aspect. There were 36,300 full-time jobs added offset by the loss of 36,900 part-time jobs. Generally, in terms of wages and benefits, full-time jobs are better paying than part-time jobs, a positive effect for the economy.

Where the Jobs Are in the Economy

CANSIM Table 282-0088 gives changes in employment by category as defined by the North American Industry Classification System. The high level breakdown is by Goods-producing sector and Services-producing sector. Highlights follow.

While February saw a gain in jobs in the goods-producing sector and a loss in the service sector, March saw this relationship reversed. 17,600 goods-producing jobs were lost including 16,700 jobs in manufacturing while the service sector added 17,100 jobs. The larger increases were in professional services, health care, and trade.

Finally, looking at the total jobs in the public sector, we see the sector shrank by 6,700 jobs..


The Ontario jobs situation was treading water in March. A loss of 500 jobs is small but considering that the country posted a modest 29,500 gain, the growth is not in Ontario. The one positive sign was the shift from part-time to full-time employment. Against this we have the shift from goods-producing jobs, especially manufacturing, to service jobs which on the average, pay significantly less than goods-producing jobs (we have discussed this fact in earlier reports). We will be on the lookout for sharks circling next month.

Related Links

See the list in The Lies My Mommy Told Me, Part III).

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