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Hamilton’s unemployment rate has been below provincial and national rates for over two years, the percentage of full time jobs are increasing, and the number of Employment Insurance claimants has fallen below pre-recession levels. Average earnings have increased for women but fallen for men. More Hamiltonians are working for less than a living wage, and our labour force participation rates are lower than provincial averages.

Unemployment Rate

Hamilton’s unemployment rate has been below provincial and national rates for over two years, the percentage of full time jobs are increasing, and the number of Employment Insurance claimants has fallen below pre-recession levels. Average earnings have increased for women but fallen for men. More Hamiltonians are working for less than a living wage, and our labour force participation rates are lower than provincial averages.[1]

Unemployment Rate Chart

Average Earnings

From 2006 to 2009, individual average earnings in the Hamilton CMA fell slightly when adjusted for inflation. Men’s average earnings fell over that time to $46,400 from $51,700, while women’s average earnings grew to $33,200 from $29,800.[2]These are similar to, but more pronounced than, provincial and national trends.

Living Wage

Hamilton’s Social Planning and Research Council reports that in 2006, (the most recent data available), there were 10,155 people in Hamilton working full-time, full year, whose income was still below the poverty line. This was up from 8,310 in 2001. This group made up 6.7% of the working population – lower than Toronto (9.0%), but higher than Ottawa, London, and Waterloo. Ontario’s average for those employed at less than a living wage was 5.5%, and the national average was 5.8%.[3]

Persons working full-time yet still living in poverty chart

Full-time/Part-time Job Percentage

Over the last three years, the percentage of full time jobs has been increasing, and the percentage of part-time jobs decreasing. Through July 2011, 80% of jobs in the Hamilton CMA were full time, up from 74% in 2008. Correspondingly, the percentage of part-time jobs shrank to 20% of all jobs, down from 26% over the same time period.[4]

Employment Insurance Claimants

Another indicator of the well-being of a community’s workforce is the number of Employment Insurance claimants. This number EI peaked for the Hamilton CMA in March 2009 at 15,870. [5] There were similar peaks in the comparator regions of
St. Catharines/Niagara, and Windsor. Kitchener-Waterloo, while showing an increase over that time period, did not experience the sharp spike occurring in other communities. Since March 2009, the number of beneficiaries has been falling, and is now lower than pre-recession levels. In March 2008 (pre-recession), Hamilton CMA had 8060 beneficiaries, in June 2011, there were 7,040.[6]

Participation Rate

Participation rates measure what percentage of the population 15+ is working or looking for work. Hamilton’s participation rates (65.2%) are lower than Ontario’s (66.9) and Canada’s (66.8) average. We are better than Windsor (61.7%), similar to London (64.6%) and St. Catharines (64.1%), but behind Toronto (67.9%), Oshawa (68.6%), Ottawa (72%), and Kitchener-Waterloo (74%).[7]

 


[1] Social Planning and Research Council, 2011. Hamilton’s Social Landscape.
[2] Social Planning and Research Council, 2011. Hamilton’s Social Landscape.
[3] Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton 2011. Hamilton’s Social Landscape.
[4] Statistics Canada, Full Time and Part Time figures, unadjusted, 3 month moving average. Data supplied by the City of Hamilton, Planning and Economic Development Department.
[5] Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.
[6] Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.
[7] Statistics Canada, Labour Force Information 2008-2011.