New employment numbers point to growth in Hamilton

Hamilton area's unemployment rate is lower than both the provincial and national averages and has seen a hefty decrease since last year, according to new numbers from Workforce Planning Hamilton.
Statistics Canada data cited by Workforce Planning Hamilton show that 8,900 more people were employed in July 2015 compared to the same month in 2014. (Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

The Hamilton area's unemployment rate is lower than both the provincial and national averages and has seen a hefty decrease since last year, according to new numbers from Workforce Planning Hamilton.

The area's unemployment rate did inch up slightly in July from the month before, but the population and labour force also grew, suggesting more people were out looking for work.

The statistics posted in the Labour Force Snapshot for July put the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (which includes Burlington and Grimsby) unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent in June.

That's below Canada's unemployment rate at 6.8 per cent and Ontario's unemployment rate at 6.3 per cent. "Out of 35 CMAs, Hamilton has the eighth lowest unemployment rate," the report reads.

In July of last year, the Hamilton CMA's unemployment rate was significantly higher at 6.4 per cent. Statistics Canada data cited by Workforce Planning Hamilton show that 8,900 more people were employed in July 2015 compared to the same month in 2014.

Service sector largest in workforce

According to the report, the area's "services-producing sector" dominates the workforce, making up 78 per cent of all people employed. "In this sector, the number of people working in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing was 74 per cent more in July 2015 than in July 2014."

Sales and service jobs were the most prominent in July, making up 24 per cent of the workforce. That includes jobs like retail, wholesale buyers, insurance, real estate, cooks, food ad beverage and others.

Though not the monolith it once was at 13 per cent of the total workforce, Hamilton's manufacturing sector also grew by 14 per cent comparing July, 2015 to the same month in 2014.

Construction was the only sector to slip, with a 2 per cent reduction in employment.

The rise of the precarious job

But just because people are working, it doesn't mean there job situation is all roses. A study released in May from McMaster University showed that nearly 60 per cent of Hamilton workers are in some version of precarious employment, and the share has grown since 2011.

Workers in precarious employment often experience unexpected changes in their work schedule and often don't know their work schedule a week in advance," the report states. That can impact workers' ability to enroll their kids in extracurricular or make social and family plans.

"Workers in less secure employment, regardless of their household income, are twice as likely to report that uncertainty over work schedules has a negative effect on family life," the report said.

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