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Employment Growth in Ontario in November Overshadowed by Declines in Most of Canada

Statistics Canada released its monthly Labour Market Survey for November. It shows that, following a notable decrease last month, Canada’s economy lost 19,000 jobs again in November, raising the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent.   However, despite recent declines, employment still remains up 1.2 percent from November 2010.   And in Ontario, employment actually increased, and unemployment declined.

Overall, there are some indications that, even though unemployment increased, the quality of the jobs that do exist seems to have improved: A decline of 53,000 in part-time work was partially offset by an increase of 35,000 in full-time.   Compared with November 2010, the number of part-time workers was down 1.9 percent, while full-time employment grew by 2.0 percent.   There were fewer self-employed workers in November and compared with a year earlier, most of the employment growth was among private sector employees.  

Employment declined among core-aged men and youths, while there were gains among women aged 55 and over.   Employment also fell in November among youths aged 15 to 24.

Employment in the service sector declined in November, with decreases in retail and wholesale trade, as well as business, building and other support services.   These losses were partially offset by increases in “other services”, such as personal services and repair maintenance, as well as in construction, natural resources, and utilities.   However, despite the decline in November, employment in the services sectors rose by 1.3 percent over the past 12 months, with steady increases in accommodation and food services as well as professional, scientific and technical services.   Over the past year, employment in the goods sector increased 0.8 percent.   Over the period, there was notable growth in natural resources and construction.   In manufacturing, employment was slightly below its level from November 2010.

Following a large decline in October, employment in Ontario edged up by 17,000 in November.   At the same time, the unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 percent.   Over the past 12 months, employment in the province has grown by 1.5 percent, slightly higher than the national average of 1.2 percent.  

Overall, the economic future remained uncertain, with no end in sight for the European sovereign debt crisis and record high consumer debt level among Canadians. The US economy is finally exhibiting some strength – which is welcome news. But a report published recently in The Economist – a respected economic magazine – suggests that Canada’s economy may be prone to a mortgage crisis similar to the one that occurred in the United States in 2008.