Changes in employment, by industry

Employment increases in most industry sectors

  • Farming as a main job has declined steadily over the long term, while other sectors have attracted more workers. Agriculture is the only sector with lower employment today than in 1987. Until 2003, mining also had lower employment than in 1987. Recently, the oil and gas extraction sector has grown, and this has more than offset employment declines in other parts of natural resources, most notably in forestry. In 2007, 339,000 people were employed in natural resources, up 18.2% from 1987. Employment in manufacturing has declined steeply in recent years, leaving the number of factory workers in 2007 at 2.45 million, about the same level as in 1987.

  • Employment has more than doubled in two sectors since 1987. In business, building and other support services, it jumped from 273,000 in 1987 to 702,000 in 2007. This sector includes industries such as employment placement agencies, telephone call centres, office administrative services, and landscaping and janitorial services. Employment also doubled in professional, scientific and technical services, jumping from 490,000 in 1987 to 1.1 million in 2007, and was related to increases in computer system design services.

  • Employment in construction has increased strongly in recent years, and the industry now ranks among the top five performers in terms of employment growth. During the recession of the early 1990s, construction employment fell. However, employment in this sector has shown a strong upward trend since 1996, and employment growth has accelerated in recent years. The last few years have also been characterized by lower interest rates and an increase in the number of housing starts.

Chart E.3
Changes in employment, by industry, 1987 to 2007

Chart E.3 Changes in employment, by industry, 1987 to 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, CANSIM table 282-0008.

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