February Labour Lowdown

12 March 2024

Toronto’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.2% last month, an increase of 0.7% from January 2024. The employment rate dipped by 0.4% to 59.8% while labour force participation rates stood steady at 65.2%. Statistic Canada notes that the increase in unemployment was seen among young and core-age working males.

Job Losses Seen in Finance, Hospitality and Construction. Gains in Transportation

On a year over year basis there has been some contraction in the Business, Building and Other Support Services Sector (-8%), Finance and Real Estate (-7%), Construction (-3%) and Hospitality (-8%).  On the plus side, job gains were led by the Transportation and Warehousing Sector (+19%), with Manufacturing (+4%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (+9%) and Health Care (+5%).

Job Postings Increase

While unemployment in Toronto increased, there were substantially more job postings, the largest number since Spring of 2023.  The number of companies in Toronto advertising for workers, jumped by over 2,500 firms. This augers well for Toronto’s job market in the coming months.

In demand occupations include Administrative Assistants, Managers in the Finance Sector (see Sector Spot Light Below), Cooks and Retail Salesperson.

Hybrid Work

February’s Labour Force Survey collected data on Canadians working from home.  While the proportion of Canadians working from home has decreased considerably from the peak of 41.1% reached in April 2020, working remotely continues to be an important part of the weekly work routine for many Canadians.  In February 2024, 13.5% of workers usually worked exclusively from home and a further 11.4% had a hybrid arrangement—that is, they usually worked some hours at home, and some hours at locations other than home.  Compared with November 2023—the last time information on work location was collected in the Labour Force Survey—the share of workers who usually work exclusively from home was up slightly (+0.9 percentage points), and the proportion of hybrid workers was little changed.  The proportion working at least some of the time from home in February 2024 was higher among women (27.8%) than among men (22.4%). Public sector employees (25.9%) were also more likely to work from home than private sector employees (21.3%).

Spotlight On Toronto’s Finance and Insurance Sector

Toronto is the second-largest financial centre in North America, behind only New York, and is ranked seventh globally, in employment. As noted by the Conference Board of Canada, over the last 10 years, employment in Toronto’s financial services sector grew at the fifth-highest rate in the world. The city had the fastest-growing financial sector in North America over that period. The financial services sector is the largest private sector contributor to GDP in Toronto, the second largest in Ontario, and third-largest in Canada.  In Toronto, there was nearly 53,000 job posts for work in the Finance and Insurance Sector over the past 12 months.  Only the Science and Technical Sector advertised more jobs in Toronto.  

One of the most important sub-sector’s of Finance is the Insurance Industry which is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Toronto and provides a substantial number of employment opportunities. Many insurance companies, both Canadian and international, have their corporate headquarters or regional offices in Toronto. This concentration of corporate offices contributes to the city’s status as a major employment hub in the insurance sector. Job roles vary across the sector, including positions in underwriting, claims management, actuarial science, sales, customer service, and information technology. These professionals play crucial roles in risk assessment, pricing, and ensuring the financial stability of insurance products.

Given the changes in the Insurance Industry and its current growth, TWIG will be conducting a labour market study on the insurance sector and occupational opportunities in the late fall of this year.  

Broken down by industry groups, the table below demonstrates the importance of Insurance to Toronto’s Financial Sector.  Industry groups related to Insurance are highlighted in Green.

Finance & Insurance Sector by Industry Groups Job Posts Toronto, Last 12 Months (March 2023 to February 2024)Posting Count
Direct Life, Health and Medical Insurance Carriers4131
Direct Insurance (Except Life, Health & Medical) Carriers3680
Insurance Agencies & Brokerages1581
Portfolio Management1441
Investment Banking & Securities Dealing1258
Financial Transactions Processing, Reserve and Clearing House Activities1059
Investment Advice751
All Other Financial Investment Activities556
Mortgage & Non-Mortgage Loan Brokers447
Other Non-Depository Credit Intermediation445
Local Credit Unions443
Pension Funds394
Credit Card Issuing392
Other Insurance Related Activities183
Other Depository Credit Intermediation167
Securities and Commodity Exchanges166
Reinsurance Carriers153
Sales Financing95
Other Activities Related to Credit Intermediation60
Commodity Contracts Dealing23
Securities Brokerage21
Miscellaneous Intermediation15
Commodity Contracts Brokerage2

The most common occupations advertised in Toronto’s insurance industry are in business and finance occupational cluster followed by sales and service.

When broken down by individual occupations, the most common occupation advertised was Insurance Agents and Brokers, followed by Customer Service Representatives  and then adjusters.

Many online job ads do not post educational requirements, however for those that do, most job ads in the Insurance Industry ask for a University Education.

Not unexpectantly, the Insurance Industry values experience with a vast majority asking for at least two years of experience.

Speaking a second language may be an asset for job seekers looking to enter into the industry. 

Over the coming months, TWIG will continue to monitor job posts in the insurance industry and look forward to our upcoming report.  Stay tuned.


  • TWIG

    Toronto Workforce Innovation Group is a non-profit and independent research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment-related problems in the Toronto Region.

February Labour Lowdown
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