Ontario Employment Outlook: February 2021 Report

After a rocky start to the year in January, which saw employment sharply drop as a result of a second lockdown, February saw employment bounce back. Ontario’s employment rate increased by 1.4%, the largest increase month-from-month since last September.


Here is a quick market summary report of Ontario’s employment outlook for February 2021, compiled by our staffing experts at Nova Staffing. All data is from the Ontario Government February 2021 Labour Market Report.



Employment Outlook

Employment dropped significantly in January 2021 as a result of the second provincial-wide COVID-19 lockdown. February saw it pick up, with Ontario’s employment rate rising to 58.5% from 57.7% in January, adding 100,300 new jobs.


In addition to employment increasing, unemployment also went down. The unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% in January to 9.2% in February. Overall, Ontario saw the number of unemployed individuals drop by 9.5%.


Employment by Age

Age continued to play a factor in employment in February, with Youth (15-24) remaining the furthest from pre-COVID levels than any other age group. Youth Employment did increase in February, though, adding 23,100 new jobs. Youth unemployment in Ontario also dropped to 20.9% from 21.8%.


After taking a major hit in January, Adult Employment (25-54) added 66,700 new jobs in February and saw unemployment in this demographic drop from 8.3% to 7.3%. Senior employment also added 10,500 new jobs and saw unemployment drop to 7.1% from 8.3% in January.


Employment by Sector

Employment in certain industries was hit harder than others due to what Ontario considered “essential” during the lockdown. Certain sectors fell well below their pre-COVID employment numbers in February, while others saw increases. In February, the industries that saw the greatest employment growth were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (+40.3%), Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Leasing (+28.5%), Manufacturing (+27.2%), and Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Quarrying, and Oil (+0.6%).


Other sectors saw significant employment loss in February and were far from their pre-COVID levels. The greatest employment loss was in Accommodation and Food Services (-121.9%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-85.3%), Business, Building, and Other Support Services (-51.5%), and Transportation and Warehousing (-36%).


Employment by Region

After a rough January, employment increased in ten of the sixteen Ontario CMAs in February. The regions that saw employment growth were Ottawa-Gatineau (+13.2%), London (+4%), Hamilton (+3.9%), Peterborough (+2.1%), Windsor (+2%), Belleville (+1.6%), Guelph (+1.2), Barrie (+0.2%), Brantford (+0.2%), Kingston (+0.1%).


Not all regions of Ontario saw employment growth in February 2021. Six of Ontario CMAs saw a decrease. These regions were Toronto (-38.3%), St. Catharine’s-Niagara (-4.5%), Oshawa (-2.25), Thunder Bay (-0.9%), Greater Sudbury (-0.4%), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (-0.1%).


Are you looking for more employment insight or staffing solutions? Contact Nova Staffing today! We’re one of the top employment agencies in the GTA and have a team of HR experts ready to help you with all of your staffing needs.


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