BUSINESS
10/07/2018 10:46 EDT | Updated 10/07/2018 10:55 EDT

Job Markets In Canada’s Largest Cities Are Losing Steam. Here’s Where Else To Find Work

Moving to Ottawa might be a capital idea.

The tower on Parliament Hill's Centre Block casts a shadow on downtown Ottawa. The city ranks as the best place in Canada to find work, according to a ranking from Bank of Montreal.
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The tower on Parliament Hill's Centre Block casts a shadow on downtown Ottawa. The city ranks as the best place in Canada to find work, according to a ranking from Bank of Montreal.

Canada's largest metro areas have all fallen in a ranking of cities' job markets from the Bank of Montreal.

"It's interesting that the biggest cities — Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary — have slipped in the past year, while smaller cities have climbed the leaderboard," BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic wrote in the bank's third-quarter "labour market report card," issued Friday.

So where are the jobs, then? In Ottawa, Edmonton and a number of cities near Toronto, the rankings showed.

BMO found Ottawa had the strongest job market of any Canadian city in the third quarter of this year.

Canada's capital benefitted from "federal government hiring, population inflows and relative housing affordability," BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic wrote in the report. "Call us bullish (still) on this market."

Government hiring has indeed been strong lately. Public-sector jobs, which include health care and education as well as direct government hiring, has jumped by 2.1 per cent over the past year, according to Statistics Canada data. Private-sector hiring grew by 1.2 per cent in that time.

Meanwhile, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal came in 15th, 16th and 19th, respectively, in the ranking of 33 metro areas. All were down from the same ranking a year earlier.

Earlier on HuffPost Canada:


Kavcic sees this is as a case of "convergence" in Canada's job markets: Strong markets have weakened while weaker markets — like London and Halifax — have strengthened, smoothing out the often large differences in the job situation across Canada.

Provincially, B.C. "had a huge quarter" with 54,000 jobs added in three months, but "Alberta is the job growth leader again," BMO declared, with the total number of positions up 2.4 per cent in a year.

Nevertheless, the province is still in recovery mode. At 7 per cent, Alberta's jobless rate is still higher than the 5.9-per-cent national average. "There is no return to boom-time conditions yet in these parts," Kavcic noted.

Meanwhile, central Canada's job market has "mellowed," BMO said. Though some Ontario and Quebec markets remain strong, the provinces have lost their crowns as job creation leaders, with Ontario hiring up 1.2 per cent and Quebec up 0.4 per cent in the past year.

Here are the 10 Canadian cities with the strongest job markets right now, according to BMO. (The report adds a note of caution: The job data from StatsCan has swung wildly in recent months, so take the numbers with a bit more of a grain of salt than usual.)

10. Abbotsford, B.C.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 12
Jobless rate: 4.8%

Job growth in the past year: 1.4%

9. Halifax, N.S.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 31
Jobless rate: 6.7%
Job growth in the past year: 4.7%

8. Peterborough, Ont.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 27
Jobless rate: 5.6%
Job growth in the past year: 4.1%

7. Victoria, B.C.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 10
Jobless rate: 3.9%
Job growth in the past year: 2.1%

6. London, Ont.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 25
Jobless rate: 5.2%
Job growth in the past year: 6.3%

5. Kitchener, Ont.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 3
Jobless rate: 5.1%

Job growth in the past year: 3.0%

4. Sherbrooke, Que.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 23
Jobless rate: 4.3%
Job growth in the past year: 6.5%

3. Guelph, Ont.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 7
Jobless rate: 3.6%
Job growth in the past year: - 3.1%

2. Edmonton, Alta.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 26
Jobless rate: 6.3%

Job growth in the past year: 3.3%

1. Ottawa, Ont.

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Ranking in Q3 2017: 20
Jobless rate: 4.5%

Job growth in the past year: 3.3%