CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

Manufacturing employment down for second time in three months

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Although job creation slowed in 2023, manufacturing employment stands at the highest annual average level since 2008. PHOTO courtesy Heddle Shipyards.

Manufacturing employment fell 18,300 (-1.0%) in December, the second decline in three months, according to Statistics Canada records.

“The sector’s job growth slowed in 2023, coinciding with numerous obstacles such as persistent workforce challenges, sharply higher interest rates, and soft global demand,” commented Alan Arcand, chief economist, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Canadian manufacturers did add 26,800 workers to payrolls in 2023 but that paled in comparison to the gains of 78,400 in 2021 and 37,300 in 2022. Still, manufacturing employment stood at 1.81 million last year, the highest annual average level since 2008.

Manufacturing employment was up in just four provinces in December. Saskatchewan saw the biggest increase (+1,200), while Ontario (-7,400) and Alberta (-6,000) experienced the steepest declines.

For 2023 as a whole, manufacturing employment increased in 7 of 10 provinces. Job creation was strongest in Ontario (+20,900) and Alberta (+14,200), while the steepest job losses were observed in BC (-12,300).

The jobless rate in manufacturing rose 0.4 percentage points to 3.7% last month, largely ending the year where it started.

“Even though the labour market is cooling, wage growth remained brisk, with the headline figure accelerating to 5.4% year-over-year in December, from 4.8% in the previous month,” pointed out Arcand.

In the manufacturing sector, average hourly earnings decelerated from 5.6% year-over-year in November to 5.3% in December, remaining significantly above the historical average of 2.8%. The average factory worker earned $34.17 an hour in December 2023, up from $32.46 an hour in December 2022.

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