Vital Signs 2015

Geography of jobs in Hamilton

Where are Hamilton’s jobs?

Consistent with where some of the biggest effects of Hamilton’s renaissance are being felt, the largest number of jobs are in lower Hamilton, the Mountain, and Hamilton’s waterfront.   This is less true for Hamilton’s youth:  the majority of jobs for youth tend to be offered in Hamilton’s malls and retail areas – which are generally suburban – creating challenges for youth living in central and east Hamilton.  Despite Hamilton’s growing economy, there are fewer jobs than workers, so about 3 in 10 workers commute to other municipalities to work.

Jobs by regions within Hamilton

Among the 192,855 jobs in 2011 with fixed workplaces in Hamilton, the largest proportion (24%) are in the Central area of Hamilton’s lower city chart 21. This area had 47,035 jobs in 2011, with most concentrated in the downtown core (chart 20).

Rounding out the top three locations for Hamilton jobs are Hamilton Mountain with 20% of the city’s jobs (38,165 jobs) and the primarily industrial waterfront area with 11% of Hamilton’s jobs (22,055 jobs).

Chart 20. Number of jobs by place of work within the city of Hamilton for people with a fixed workplace, 2011

Chart 20

Data source: Statistics Canada, (National Household Survey 2011)

Data note: For this section of the report, the geographic boundaries describe the following areas: Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek refer to the areas covered by each of these former municipalities; Central Hamilton refers to the lower city from highway 403 to Ottawa Street, excluding the industrial waterfront area); East Hamilton covers the lower city from Ottawa Street to the border of Stoney Creek, excluding the industrial waterfront area; Industrial area is everything north of the CN rail line from Wentworth Street to Gray’s Road (Stoney Creek border); McMaster and area includes all the Hamilton neighbourhoods below the escarpment west of highway 403 up to the border with Dundas; Mountain includes all the neighbourhoods above, the escarpment part of the former municipality of Hamilton (encompassed currently by Wards 6, 7 and 8).

Chart 21. Proportion of jobs within the city of Hamilton, by place of work for people with a fixed workplace, 2011

Chart 21

Data source: Statistics Canada, National Household Survey (2011)

Job types by regions: Youth

Hamilton’s youngest workers, those aged 15-19, face a particularly challenging job market and the challenges grow where there are fewer youth jobs close to home or school.

The map of youth jobs shows that teen jobs are most numerous in Hamilton’s malls and retail areas, with the largest number of jobs in and around Limeridge Mall, a relatively short distance for a large number of teens on the Mountain. Other suburban retail areas such as the Meadowlands in Ancaster, areas near Waterdown in Flamborough, and Heritage Green in Stoney Creek Mountain provide a significant source of jobs for teenagers. While there is also a high density of youth in the Central lower city, the nearby jobs are smaller in number and mainly in and around Jackson Square mall. In East Hamilton, the area around Eastgate Mall and to a lesser extent, Centre on Barton, provide the bulk of jobs for teenagers.

Map 1. Residential density of teenagers (15 to 19) compared to number of jobs held by teens, by census tracts, City of Hamilton, 2011

Map 1

Data source: Statistics Canada, (Census and National Household Survey 2011)

Chart 22 summarizes the census tract data to broader areas and compares where youth aged 15-19 are living to where teens are employed; to give a rough sense how many jobs are available compared to how many teenagers are living in each area. The results shows that in Flamborough and Ancaster, there is a larger proportion of the city’s jobs occupied by teenagers than the proportion of Hamilton’s teenagers living there (26% of all of Hamilton’s teen jobs are in these two area combined yet only 17% of Hamilton’s youth aged 15-19 live in Ancaster or Flamborough).  In contrast, teenagers in Central and East Hamilton have more limited number of nearby jobs: only 19% of all jobs held by teenagers are in these areas combined, while 27% of Hamilton’s teens aged 15-19 live in Central or East Hamilton. The Mountain, Stoney Creek and Dundas each have a closer balance between the proportions of teen jobs and teen residents.

The reduced number of nearby jobs for teenagers in Central and East Hamilton, compared to other areas of the city is especially concerning because these are the same areas that have the highest poverty rates in the City[1]. For teens who grew up in poor households, lack of employment experience early in their worklife may be contributing to a reduced likelihood of escaping poverty as they transition to adulthood.

A recent UBC study found that Canadian teenagers benefit substantially from part-time jobs in their teenage years, as they develop a better understanding of work life and gain related skills and experiences. The data from Statistics Canada’s National Youth in Transition Survey, found teens employed in part-time jobs “is linked to later life outcomes such as higher income, better fitting jobs, and better career networks”[2].

Chart 22. Proportion of the total workers aged 15-19 working in each area of Hamilton compared to proportion of Hamilton residents aged 15-19 living in each area of the city, 2011

Chart 22

Data source: Statistics Canada, (National Household Survey 2011)

Jobs types by regions: Job quality

To get a general sense of job quality in each region of Hamilton, charts 23 and 24 below show the estimated proportions of low- and high-income jobs as well as full- and part-time jobs in each area. These are estimates only, as the workers’ full/part-time status and income data is from the previous year and may not be related to their current job location.

The data reveal the highest estimated proportions of part-time and low-income work are in rural and suburban areas and Hamilton Mountain.

The employees with the highest incomes are more likely to be working in Central Hamilton, or the McMaster and industrial areas. Despite the major decline in industrial jobs in the last three decades in Hamilton, industrial jobs continue to be of relatively high quality, with the remaining jobs in that area having by far the highest estimated percentage of full-time workers (93%).

Chart 23. Estimate of proportion of high- and low-income jobs in each region of Hamilton, 2011

Chart 23

Data source: Statistics Canada, (National Household Survey 2011)

Chart 24. Estimate of proportion of full-time and part-time jobs in each region of Hamilton, 2011

Chart 24

Data source: Statistics Canada, (National Household Survey 2011)

Commuting for work

Compared to the city of Toronto and region of Waterloo, the city of Hamilton has fewer jobs as a proportion to its number of workers. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, Hamilton has about 200,000 workers employed at a fixed place of work, but within the city’s borders there are only about 178,000 jobs. Chart 25 compares the proportion between these numbers and shows that there are only enough jobs within the city of Hamilton for about 89% of currently employed workers who reside in Hamilton, while in Toronto and Waterloo there are more jobs than residents. This difference explains why Hamilton has a higher proportion of workers who commute outside of the city for work (31%), compared to Toronto (19%) and Waterloo (14%). About 12% of Hamilton workers commute to Burlington, and the next most common work destinations are Mississauga, Oakville and Toronto with each less than 5% of Hamilton workers commuting there. Conversely, about 6% of Hamilton’s jobs are held by residents of the region of Niagara, and 4% by residents of Burlington.
Chart 25. Estimate of jobs with each community as a as a proportion of community’s employed workers, 2011

Chart 25a

Data source:  Statistics Canada (National Household Survey, 2011)

[1] Mayo, S. and Pike, D. (2013) The Rich and the Rest of Us: Trends in Hamilton’s income inequality and why they matter. Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton:

[2] Houshmand, M. (2014). Beneficial “Child Labor”: The Impact Of Adolescent Work On Future Professional Outcomes. Research in the Sociology of Work (25) 191-220: