June Labour Lowdown

17 June 2024

Employment Conditions Improve in May

After months of lagging behind other regions of Canada in job creation, Toronto led the country by adding over 30,000 jobs in May.  Unemployment ticked lower to 8.3% while the employment rate increased from 60.4% from 59.8%.  Unfortunately, Toronto’s unemployment rate of 8.3% remains well above the national average of 6.2%.

In May, the average wage in Toronto increased to $37.08, up by $2.07 from the previous year.  Data from TWIG’s job posting system also contained a number of positives with active job posts increasing by over 5,000 from April.  

The number of job posts increased for all sectors increased. The finance and education sectors led this increase with both industries up by over 20% from the previous month.  Construction and Manufacturing were fairly sluggish with only marginal gains from April.

Industries# Job Posts
Science & Technical6182
Retail & Wholesale Trade5884
Health Care5755
Business Services4719
Creative Industries3403
Hospitality & Tourism2820
Education & Public Admin2710
Construction & Utilities1525

Other highlights in May’s Labour Force Survey

Across Canada, the youth employment rate was virtually unchanged in May at 55.6% but has generally been on a strong downward trend following a recent high of 59.4% in March 2023. On a year-over-year basis, the youth employment rate was down 2.4 percentage points in May 2024, and was lower than the average rate of 58.2% observed from 2017 to 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1% among core-aged women, and by 0.3 percentage points to 5.0% among men aged 55 and older. Meanwhile, it fell 0.9 percentage points to 11.7% among young women, as employment increased.

On a year-over-year basis, the unemployment rate was up across all major demographic groups, with youth aged 15 to 24 recording the largest increases. From May 2023 to May 2024, the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points for young women and by 1.9 percentage points for young men.

Working from Home

After most pandemic-related public health restrictions were lifted in 2022, the proportion of Canadians working exclusively from home fell notably, as many workers returned to their offices or work sites across the country. Since then, the share of Canadians working from home has declined much more slowly. Currently, about 13.2% of employed Canadians were working exclusively at home and 10.3% had a hybrid work arrangement—that is, they usually worked some hours at home, and some hours at locations other than home.

While specific data for Toronto about working from home is not available, an examination of JobsTO posting data indicates that the Finance, Science and Retail sectors have the most flexible working arrangements.  Nut surprisingly, Transportation and Manufacturing have the lowest rates.

JobsTO Information

While the number of job posts in Toronto continued its steady climb since January 2024, the number of companies has also increased.  The average advertised wage was up by over 3% from April, coming in at $32.07.

While many job posts do not specific educational requirements, of those that do, a University Degree is the most common requirement. 

The hardest to fill occupations for employers included:

  • Auditors, Accountants and Investment Professionals
  • Managers in Financial and Business Services
  • Office Administrative Assistants
  • Retail Salespersons
  • Computer, Software and Web Designers and Developers     

Year over Year

Both Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey data and JobsTO posting data can often give a one-dimensional snapshot of labour conditions. Taken together over time, a clearer picture of what is occurring in Toronto’s labour market emerges.

The data around the hospitality and tourism sector clearly shows an industry in decline over the past 12 months with both the number of workers and job ads declining at an alarming rate.  Furthermore, there are few indications that the sector will be recovering over the short-term, particularly in the downtown core where many of these jobs are located.  Gridlock and downtown traffic congestion are continually cited as an issue for the sector.   A new study by Geotab Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), notes that travel times on the Gardiner have increased up to 250 per cent in the morning rush hour (7 to 10 a.m.), and 230 per cent in the afternoon rush hour.

On a positive note, the Science and Technical, Health Care and Transportation sectors are all growing and based on job posting date – are likely to continue to grow over the coming months.

Curiously, despite current narratives, the construction sector has also shed jobs over the past twelve months.  Ominously, building permits by value issued by the City of Toronto are down across all types:

  • Residential Building Permits down $588 million from prior year
  • Industrial Building Permits down by $88 million from prior year
  • Commercial Building Permits down by $272.4 million from prior year
  • Institutional Building Permits down by $126.6 million from prior year

The recent cut to Canadian interest rates, along with Federal and Provincial housing initiatives should help to ameliorate these declines over the long-term, however TWIG does not see any immediate rebound in the near future since the period from building permit to actual “shovels in the ground” can take a significant amount of time.


  • 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.

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June Labour Lowdown
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