Office jobs dominated, and manufacturing continues to do poorly.
Driven by growth downtown and in the city’s offices, Toronto continued to adds jobs in 2016.
The mandatory annual Toronto Employment Survey [PDF], which the City has administered to local businesses since 1983, showed 2.6 per cent overall growth in local jobs over 2015. However, 74 per cent of the job growth came in the form of part-time work; 28,000 part-time jobs were added, while 10,000 were full-time. Over the past 10 years, 35 per cent more part-time jobs were added in Toronto, as well as nine per cent more full-time jobs.
The office sector dominated Toronto’s job growth, with almost half of all new jobs coming in that area. Manufacturing, on the other hand, continues to struggle. The sector remained flat and has experienced a 20 per cent decline over the past decade. By contrast, Toronto’s office sector, institutional sector, service sector, and community and entertainment sector each grew by 20 to 30 per cent over the same time period.
All of this is to say Toronto is experiencing broader economic trends. There’s a move towards more part-time work, and some relatively low-skilled and high-paying manufacturing jobs are gradually going away.
Council grapples with this conflict on a regular basis. There’s a frequent genre of City Council motion where a local councillor wants to convert employment lands—zoned for industrial use—into something that might support big box retail or a new residential development. These sites might often be vacant for a while—after all, there’s not much local manufacturing growth—and so there’s pressure to turn nothing into something, even if it means compromising the principles in the City’s Official Plan.
While the growth in Toronto’s office sector is good—those are jobs that any city would welcome, and start-up numbers continue to be strong—what grows a city is achieving a sustainable balance in its development so that different sectors can complement one another.