Employment, by industry

Nearly 3 in 10 workers are employed in trade or manufacturing

  • Retail and wholesale trade continues to be the largest sector in the country, employing approximately 2.7 million people in 2007. Among these workers, approximately three-quarters work in retail trade. With the surge in consumer spending in recent years, both retail sales and wholesale trade employment have boomed.

  • Since 1990, trade has been Canada's largest employer, followed by manufacturing. With recent employment losses, manufacturing now also ranks behind trade in terms of average number of hours worked; 76 million hours were worked in manufacturing in 2007, while 85 million hours were worked in trade. However, workers in manufacturing put in an average of 37.0 hours per week, whereas in trade, they put in 31.8. Wages were also significantly higher in manufacturing: the average hourly wage for factory work was $21.11, compared with $15.39 in trade.

  • Employment in health care and social assistance jumped by 3.4% in 2007, and the industry retained its long-term ranking as the third-largest employer. The share of total employment for this sector was 10.9% in 2007, compared with about 8.1% in 1976. Health care spending in Canada has increased considerably in the last few years, and along with the added spending, so, too, has the number of workers increased. In 2007, 1.8 million people worked in health care and social assistance.

Chart E.2
Distribution of employment, by industry, 2007

Chart E.2 Distribution of employment, by industry, 2007

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

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