Hiring Levels Still Low in Suburban Toronto

Hiring demand actually increased slightly in June compared to May in all four suburban GTA regions. However, since the hiring demand levels in May were among this year’s worst, the correction amounted for little more than a return to the flat trend that we have been seeing since the job market took a deep dive at the end of 2008. We are still not seeing signs of recovery in the Toronto area’s job markets, and we do not expect to see much in the way of recovery until the 3rd quarter of 2009.

In June, we recorded 10,047 new job postings – which is a slight increase from May’s 9,022 postings. Last year, we actually saw a deep dip in June vs. May (last June also marked the first more significant decline in hiring demand levels – see graphs below). In June 2009 we were at “only” 18% below the June 2008 hiring demand levels because in June 2008, hiring demand had already started deteriorating.   However, comparable data that we have collected for York Region in June of 2007 – before the first signs of trouble appeared in the financial markets – indicate that we are still at about 35% below the 2007 hiring demand level.

Hiring Demand Jan 08 to June 09 - suburban Toronto

When comparing hiring demand performance between regions, we are noticing that those regions with stronger dependence on the car manufacturing industry seem to be faring worse overall (Durham – home of GM Canada, and Halton – home of Ford Canada). This is hardly surprising.

Hiring Demand by Region Jan 08 to June 09 - suburban Toronto
Industry-specific data collected from York Region also reveals noteworthy industry-specific trends: While hiring demand in the service sectors seems to have stabilized and may even be improving, the goods sectors (primarily manufacturing) is still deteriorating.

In the second quarter of 2009, the year-over-year gap for the goods sector widened compared to the same period of last year – and we saw 3 consecutive months of decline. This is likely at least partly the result of the turbulences in the car manufacturing industry – including the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler to whom many manufacturers sell. This means that, even though Statistics Canada reported recently that job losses in the manufacturing industry had slowed down in April, it keeps getting harder for those laid off by manufacturing companies to find employment in the same field.

The apparent strength in the services sector was driven to a great extent by a hiring demand surge in the healthcare industry, which accounted for a record 20% of all job postings in York Region in June 2009 – up 47% compared to June 2008. Other industries in which we recorded hiring demand increases for the month of June this year compared to last year include Wholesale, Public Administration, Educational Services, Insurance and Financial Services. However, hiring demand in the Professional Services industry – which is of key importance to many suburban GTA communities – was down 53% compared to June 2009.

Occupation-class specific hiring demand trends that we described in a detailed report this spring remained largely unchanged: Hiring demand for health care professionals increased by almost 20% compared to the first half of last year, and there were almost 5 times as many ads for caregivers. Hiring demand for managers declined by only 17%, while demand for unskilled Help Wanted jobs and blue-collar tradesmen positions was down by more than 50%. Most of the remaining occupation classes saw year-over-year declines closer to the 30% average decline.

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