Steel shutdown: The decline of Hamilton's manufacturing

Even before U.S. Steel announced it would no longer produce steel in the city, manufacturing jobs were on the decline in the Hamilton area. Here's the first in a series looking at work in Hamilton in the wake of the company's shutdown announcement.

Hamilton area lost nearly 35,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade

It's Work Week at CBC Hamilton. And in the wake of U.S. Steel’s shutdown of steel manufacturing in the city, we are taking a look at jobs in Hamilton: where they have gone, what remains, and which industries are desperate for employees. 

For the first entry in the series, we're using graphics to illustrate the decline of manufacturing work in the Hamilton area over the past decade.

Once the economic engine of the city, manufacturing was already on the decline in 2003. Numbers from Statistics Canada show that ten years ago, 22 per cent of the workforce in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (which includes Burlington and Grimsby as well as the City of Hamilton) was employed in manufacturing jobs.

Source: Statistics Canada (Cory Ruf/CBC)

The past decade saw a further decline — both gradual and sustained — in the share of Hamilton workers employed in manufacturing jobs. In September 2013, 12 per cent of Hamilton-area workers had manufacturing jobs — a drop of about 45 per cent.

The decline coincided with gains in other sectors. For example, the share of Hamilton-area workers employed in information, culture and recreation rose from five per of all jobs in 2003 to 13 per cent in 2013.

Source: Statistics Canada (Cory Ruf/CBC)

The final graph takes a closer look at the steady loss of manufacturing jobs over the last ten years. In Sept. 2003, nearly 80,000 people in the Hamilton area worked in the manufacturing sector. And while the number of individuals employed in the Hamilton area rose by 4,000 over the decade, the number of manufacturing jobs declined to 46,200.

Source: Statistics Canada (Cory Ruf/CBC)

The Hamilton experience loosely mirrors the province-wide trend. During the same period, Ontario lost approximately 331,000 manufacturing jobs, even though the total workforce grew by 740,000 people. 

Tomorrow: Hot jobs in Hamilton