Last week’s labour force numbers for Canada from Statistics Canada were seen as a bit of a shock given that employment fell by 88,000 in January. Part-time employment declined (-137,000), while full-time employment was up (+49,000). At the same time, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9%. Ontario also declined by about 51,000 jobs and much of the loss was due to part-time work. So how does northern Ontario compare when recent labour force estimates are looked at?
The accompanying figure looks at employment growth for northeast and northwest Ontario compared to Ontario and Canada between December 2017 and January 2018. Whereas Ontario and Canada saw employment drop by just over one half of one percent, total employment in the northeast declined 2.4 percent while in the northwest it fell by 1.8 percent. As well, the losses were more driven by full-time employment as it dropped 2.5 percent in the northeast and 2.3 percent in the northwest. All one can hope is that the January numbers are a short-term aberration because northern Ontario saw its employment drop more than either Ontario or Canada and the northeast seems to have been hit harder.