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Labour market1

The interaction between people available and looking for work and those seeking persons willing to work at the market wage rate.

Key highlights

  • COVID-19 measures to contain the spread of the virus continued to negatively influence Peel’s labour market conditions in Q1 2021.
  • While more Peel residents continued to enter the labour market in search of employment, many were unsuccessful in finding employment, keeping Peel’s unemployment rates elevated.
  • Employment fell in Q1 2021, led by lower employment in the goods producing sector.
  • Peel’s mass vaccination program is expected to help reduce the spread of the virus and allow for the easing of COVID-19 measures and improvements in Peel’s labour market conditions in upcoming quarters.

In Q1 2021, a total of 884,700 Peel residents were in the labour force, and approximately 779,100 of them were employed.

When compared with Q1 2020, there were approximately 10,900 additional Peel residents (1.2 per cent) in the labour market and 42,100 (-5.1 per cent) fewer were employed during Q1 2021.

In the following quarter (Q3, 2020), the decline in employment lessened to -0.8 per cent.

As more stringent province-wide measures were put in place in Ontario to control the rising number of COVID-19 infections, the loss of employment accelerated to reach -5.1 per cent in Q1 2021.

Employment rate

The employment rate is the number of employed persons in a particular age group, expressed as a percentage of the population in that age group.

Participation rate

The participation rate is the total labour force in a particular age group, expressed as a percentage of the population in that age group.

For the third consecutive quarter, Peel’s labour force grew as many core working age residents entered the labour market in search of work.

As a result, the participation rate for core working age residents (25 – 64 years) increased from 82.5 per cent in Q1 2020 to 84.0 per cent in Q1 2021.

The overall (15 years and over) participation rate was 66.4 per cent in Q1 2021, which was just below the rate of 66.7 per cent in Q1 2020, influenced by the exit of youth (15 – 24 years) from the labour market. Youth workers were unequally impacted by the pandemic.

The participation rate for youth (15 – 24 years) fell from 50.1 per cent in Q1 2020 to 48.7 per cent in Q1 2021.

Employment by sector

Since the start of the pandemic, many Peel residents have lost jobs and in Q1 2021, the trend continued.

Relative to Q1 2020, 42,100 fewer Peel residents were employed in Q1 2021.

The loss of employment occurred solely in the service sector where approximately 66,900 positions were lost between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, down 9.9 per cent.

Employment in the sub-sector accommodation and food services fell 40.6 per cent to lead the decline in employment in Q1 2021. This sub-sector was unequally impacted by the pandemic and has led the decline in employment since its onset.

As COVID-19 measures ease, employment in accommodation and food services is expected to show a gradual rebound.

Relative to Q1 2020, employment in the goods producing sector increased by 17.2 per cent to 169,600 positions. This was the second consecutive quarterly increase in employment in the sector following declines in the preceding five quarters.

Higher employment in the two largest sub-sectors, manufacturing (19.8 per cent) and construction (19.7 per cent), led the increase in employment in the goods producing sector.

Employment by type

In response to the reinstatement of COVID-19 restrictions in late 2020, the loss of employment again broadened to include both full-time and part-time positions, and this continued into Q1 2021. Relative to Q1 2020, changes in employment in Q1 2021 were as follows:

1 Quarterly labour market statistics are all measured in quarterly averages.