Toronto Unemployment Hits 317k People, More Than All of Quebec

If Greater Toronto is still ahead of the national curve, Canada may be in trouble. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows the unemployment rate climbed sharply in May. Rising unemployment is a national trend, but the rapid pace at which it’s climbing can be attributed to Greater Toronto, home to a third of the increased unemployment in the past year. It’s a general trend across Southern Ontario, which has gone from the driver of the national economy to a major drag. 

Toronto Represents A Third of The Unemployed People Canada Added

For those that missed Canada’s employment data, unemployment has been climbing steadily. The seasonally adjusted national rate reached 6.1% in May, representing 1.34 million people. Over the past year, that rate has climbed 1.0 point (+250.9k people), which is a 20% increase. Rising unemployment is a trend being observed across the country, but the lion’s share driving growth is the Toronto CMA. 

Looking for a job? Toronto might be the least likely place to find one these days. Over the past year, the unemployment rate climbed 1.0 point (+83.8k people) to 7.9% (317.2k people) as of May. About 1 in 3 of Canada’s unemployment gains over the past year is in the region, which now has more unemployed people than the whole province of Quebec (241.2k people).

Toronto’s unemployed population is now the largest outside of the pandemic going back at least two decades. Though considering the population was much smaller prior, this might be a record in terms of sheer quantity of unemployed people. 

Southern Ontario Unemployment Rates Are Climbing Unusually Fast

While it’s a national trend, Canada’s other big cites aren’t experiencing the same growth. Vancouver’s unemployment rate is just 5.7% (97.3k people), substantially lower than the national unemployment rate. Ditto for Montreal (5.8%; 147k people). Calgary (8.1%; 83.5k people) is an exception, coming in notably higher than the national average. 

Southern Ontario cities as a whole appear to not being doing nearly as hot as big cities. Cities overrepreented for its unemployment rate include Windsor (8.5%), St. Catharines-Niagara (7.9%), and Hamilton (7%). These markets have helped to push the province-wide rate to 6.8% as of May, much higher than the national rate of 6.1%.  

The erosion of employment in the Greater Toronto region provides more context to its real estate market. Despite its rapid population growth, rental vacancies have been climbing. Not just office spaces, which have hit a new record for availability, but the residential rental vacancy rate exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Coupled with slow home sales and a mortgage delinquency rate now at the highest level in nearly a decade, experts are placing a lot on that recent rate cut to revive the city’s market.



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  • Reply
    Omar 7 days ago

    Needs more workers they said.

    • Reply
      Trader Jim 7 days ago

      Southern Ontario had the fastest growing home prices based on all of these workers that can’t find a job now. What a shame.

  • Reply
    David Chan 7 days ago

    Toronto should cook up some more studies on how its plans are perform better in 2021 compared to 2020, and double down on a city that’s impossible to do commerce in.

  • Reply
    CD 7 days ago

    Funemployment! Oh wait, there’s nothing fun in Toronto.

  • Reply
    Raj 7 days ago

    Not a racial comment, but has anyone else noticed the armies of brown men (and it’s always men), waiting outside of grocery stores and shopping malls, waiting for instacart and uber eats orders?

    I’ve got nothing against them, they’re working which shows they clearly aren’t a problem in terms of dependency. It’s just hard not to notice the colonial vibes here, where they clearly didn’t import people for skilled labor. It’s about cheap labor.

    • Reply
      T.H. 7 days ago

      Hi Raj, you’re correct.
      At one time you were those people you’re seeing and reporting here.
      It progressively gets worse with who we are importing here into N. America.
      I’m of a European descent and we were called names when in grade school many decades ago. However, those same name callers would be oh SO happy if it were now us coming into Canada instead of all the brown skinned people.
      Nothing racial here, just telling you as we see it as white people.
      Have a wonderful summer sir.

      • Reply
        Abe heuchert 2 days ago

        I remember oh so well the name calling of the 50s and 60s. I was called a bull h__k because my parents were born in Europe by kids who were also of European decent whose parents were born in Canada. Now h_ _ks from Europe won’t consider
        Moving here anymore. My cousin and wife from Hungary applied a few yrs ago and apparently did not pass the points system although university educated with him speaking 6 languages with his English spoken like a a British gentleman. They were of prime age around 30, had money but we’re I assume of the wrong ethnic variety? They were disappointed but felt lucky in the end staying in Victor Orban’s Hungary as back in those days about 15 yrs ago they did not like his policies and that was the main reason they wanted to come to Canada for their child to have a better life in our wonderful multi-cultural society. Boy, did they ever luck out staying put as now it is obvious to any thinking person that the type of multi-culturalism Canada has is a total overblown disaster. They are happy they never moved here and take trips every few years to see relatives. I am considering moving to Hungary part time myself.

  • Reply
    Ron Bruce 7 days ago

    Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the Premier of Quebec, François Legault and forgot about the unemployment in Toronto (GTA)

    The Prime Minister and the Premier discussed asylum seekers, temporary immigration, and the negotiation of bilateral agreements on shared priorities.

    Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed that the Government of Canada will provide $750 million to the Government of Quebec for the provision of services to asylum seekers, including temporary housing.

  • Reply
    Mike 7 days ago

    High unemployment in Toronto and sky-high mortgage rates and even worse, the Liberals and NDP allow above-the-guideline rent increases on all old buildings which the Landlord and Tenant Board ALWAYS approves and there is zero rent control on buildings built 2018 or after. These political leaders couldn’t care less about you unless you’re funding their sociopathic pockets. As usual, they’re all talk and zero action unless it’s to financially harm Canadians.

  • Reply
    Mark Bayly 7 days ago

    Millions more coming

  • Reply
    Lonnie Turest 6 days ago

    Premier loves to see his effective municipal governance policies at work (corporate efficiency). His hatred manifested.

  • Reply
    Top Consultant 6 days ago

    Increase immigration to 10 million a year

    • Reply
      Abe Heuchert 2 days ago

      Might as well, then I can collect higher rents on my properties. I can also stop travelling to countries in South Asia, Africa, Mexico and Latin America because when I go to Walmart I can imagine that I am in one of these places without having to spend the money and time to actually go there.

  • Reply
    Mark 3 days ago

    So will the government pay off any sketch debt I accrue?
    If the answer is no then why should they pick up the debt of a private enterprise, let them fail or give the vote to the people of the country… bail out or let fail

  • Reply
    abe heuchert 2 days ago

    We are witnessing the browning and the blackening of the Canadian landscape. You can also add to that rainbow colours.

  • Reply
    A matsi 1 day ago

    If we let housing prices drive the std of living down, then add millions of semi qualified workers we end up here. Industry leaves, along with jobs. Housing costs go so high there are no buyers. At some point the housing market takes a dive, and all the productive jobs that were once here are gone. Everyone is contractor, realtor, banker or insurer …. Then toronto starts to look like cleavland

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