Toronto Unemployment Surges, Adds 75k More Unemployed People

Toronto’s population boom has led to rapid growth of its talent pool—but can they find work? Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows Toronto’s unemployment rate rose significantly faster than the national rate in February. The city’s unemployed population has grown to hundreds of thousands of people, with annual growth rising 11x the rate of its labor force. 

Toronto Unemployment Climbed Much Faster Than The National Rate

People moving to big cities for employment may want to consider regional differences. Seasonally adjusted unemployment climbed to 7.4% in February. That represents a 0.3 point increase from a month before, and a whopping 1.7 point increase from last year. In contrast, Canada’s national unemployment rate climbed 0.1 points to 5.8% in February. 

It’s hard to appreciate just how big of a jump unemployment made in the region. The 1.7 point increase from last year means the rate climbed nearly 30% in just 12 months. Experts believe a 0.5 point increase is the amount typically seen before recession. Triple that, and that’s how the region is currently set up. 

Every 4 Workers Toronto Added Was Met With 3 Unemployed People  

Toronto has seen its workforce boom with its population, and that’s part of the issue. The region’s labor force has climbed 2.8% (+108.8k) to 3.98 million people in February. Impressive growth, but keep in mind that the unemployment rate climbed over this period. Just how fast is unemployment rising to outpace this? 

Toronto Unemployed Population Approaching Great Recession Levels

The seasonally adjusted unemployed population of Toronto.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling. 

Toronto’s unemployment is growing at a breakneck speed. Over the past year, the region saw unemployment rise 34% (+74.9k) to 294.k people in February. If the unemployed people were a city, it would rank as Canada’s 16th largest, just after Windsor but ahead of Saskatoon. Heck, if just the 75k people unemployment grew by were a city, it would be Canada’s 45th largest city—equivalent to Sarnia, and more people than Ft. Mac. 

Toronto’s economy is the most prominent example of Canada’s economic issues. A region with a fast growing population is typically driven by a fast growing economy. Unfortunately that’s not the case here—for every 4 workers added in the past year, the region has added 3 unemployed people to its labor market. Since economic migrants don’t typically continue moving to regions they’re unlikely to find employment, it’s hard to see this trend continue.



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  • Reply
    Scott 6 days ago

    “We’re working hard for the middle class.”
    “We’re from the government, we’re here to help.”
    “Cheque’s in the mail.”
    I guess banks, telecoms and grocers are happy. Not so sure about the other 39.99 million Canadians though…

  • Reply
    Jerry Brodt 6 days ago

    Alberta is calling, lowest taxes and lots of jobs. House.prices in Edmonton and surrounding area are very affordable on top of it all.

  • Reply
    shane elliott 5 days ago

    time to vote the liberals out of power to many scandal the country is heading to a dictator with rights heading into the tiolet woke laws and wait till trump becomes president canada faces big problems that trudeau just doesnt care about canadians face housing shortage food expense have exploded and canada looks foolish to the rest of the world.

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