Local Economy

No security, no benefits: A picture of precarious work in Hamilton

Hamilton's precarious employment problem is the worst in the North End and core, according to new stats released this week by McMaster University and the United Way in Toronto.
A new study pegs the share of Hamilton workers in precarious employment at 60 per cent. (CBC Hamilton/Infoactive)

A study pegs the share of Hamilton workers in precarious employment at nearly 60 per cent — leaving more than half the city in jobs that often have no security, benefits and regular scheduling.

And the problem is the worst in Hamilton's North End and core, according to new stats released this week by McMaster University and the United Way in Toronto. 

The percentage of workers in full-time jobs with benefits is smallest in the centre of the city, compared to the east end, the Mountain and Burlington, the report shows.

The overall study for the GTA and Hamilton came out last month. But McMaster University researcher Wayne Lewchuk released new breakdowns for Hamilton this week.

Here's a map that shows how Lewchuk divided the city for the breakdown:

(McMaster University)

And here are the graphs that show the trend outlined above.

The full-time jobs with benefits: 

(McMaster University)

And the percentage that are precariously employed: 

Lewchuk's Hamilton picture follows up the study released in May that 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

Here's what the average income for each area looks like: 

And, interestingly, one of the top income-earning sections of the city, southwest Hamilton and the Mountain, was where people worry most about maintaining their standard of living: 

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