The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) has released its annual publication on Ontario’s labour market and it shows Ontario’s economy created 210,000 net new jobs in 2019, the largest increase in the level of employment on record.
The annual unemployment rate remained at 5.6 per cent, unchanged from 2018, and the lowest rate since 1989. The province’s strong labour market was accompanied by sustained growth in average wages, and an increase in the proportion of Ontarians participating in the workforce for only the second time in the past 10 years.
Despite the strong pace of job creation, Ontario’s labour market continues to face important challenges, including an uneven distribution of labour market gains across the province’s communities, a surge in self-employment which can be precarious, and a decline in average hours worked per employee reflecting rising part-time employment.
Read the complete report here.
Employment gains in 2019 were driven by strong increases in both full-time jobs (157,000, +2.7 per cent) and part-time jobs (53,000, +4.0 per cent).
Job creation was led by the private sector (123,000, +2.6 per cent), followed by self-employment (78,000, +7.0 per cent).
Average hourly wages (for all workers) increased by a solid 3.6 per cent to $28.34 in 2019, marking the strongest wage growth since 2008.
Despite the strong job gains in 2019, five out 15 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in Ontario saw a drop in employment, with the largest declines in Peterborough, Thunder Bay, and St. Catharines-Niagara.
Since the 2008-2009 recession, most of Ontario’s job gains have been concentrated in large CMAs, in particular, Toronto. From 2010 to 2019, Toronto accounted for almost two-thirds (65.9 per cent) of the job creation in Ontario, higher than its share of the population.
In 2019, Ontarians worked 32.3 hours on average per week, the lowest on record. The decline in average hours worked in 2019 partially reflects the rising share of part-time employees in the workforce
The Financial Accountability Office provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances and trends.