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The Globe and Mail

National household survey shows east-west splits in labour market

Dozens lin up to register for the The National Job Fair & Training Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 2012.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

Canada's national household survey highlights regional differences in how the country's labour market is faring, with higher joblessness in Ontario eastward and better outcomes in the West.

This it the first-ever voluntary survey of its kind, based on data collected from about 4.5 million households in the first week of May, 2011.

Here's a look at the contrasts:

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Employment. People over the age of 15 are more likely to have a job in Yukon and Alberta, where employment rates are 69.7 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively. The lowest employment rate is in Newfoundland and Labrador, at just 50.7 per cent. The divide is also stark at the city level – where Calgary's employment rate at 70 per cent is the highest in the country (followed by Regina and Edmonton), compared with Windsor's rate of 53.3 per cent (followed by Peterborough, Ont. and Trois-Rivieres, Que.). The difference reflects resource wealth in the Prairies in contrast with a struggling factory base in Central Canada.

Mobility. The North – the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon – has the highest proportion of people who moved there for work. But people are also moving to Alberta for a job. Of provinces, Alberta has the highest proportion of workers in 2011 who had lived in another province or territory five years earlier. Quebec and Ontario have the lowest portion of workers who had lived elsewhere.

Education. It's good to head north if you have a university degree. Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon have the highest employment rates in the country for those with a university education. Employment rates are lowest for university-educated people in Newfoundland.

Lack of education. For those without a certificate, diploma or degree, it's best to be in Alberta, where the employment rate was 67.5 per cent for this group. It's toughest to be without education in Newfoundland, where the employment rate is just 39.7 per cent.

The degree gap. The employment gap between those with a university education and those who haven't finished school is smallest in Alberta. The largest employment gap between the educated and uneducated is in Nunavut.

Commuting. Commute times are longest in Central Canada, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. The longest average commuting time to work was in Toronto, at 32.8 minutes, followed by Oshawa, Ont. and Montreal. And the time it's taking to get to work is getting longer for those in the traffic-snarled Toronto area in particular. All told, three of four commuters drive to work, while 5.7 per cent walk. Walking to work is most popular in Victoria.

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More


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