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Uneven Recovery: Much of Ontario Still Hasn’t Recovered from the 2008 Recession

In recent history, Ontario has suffered more than its share of economic pain. From 2003 to 2015, real per-person economic growth in Ontario was roughly half of the rate in the rest of the country at 0.5 percent annually. Thanks to a steep recession and a tepid recovery since (although a recovery that has gained some steam in very recent years), Ontario’s economic performance
looks even worse if you consider a somewhat shorter timeframe. From 2008 to 2015, for example, Ontario’s economy grew at an average annual rate of just 0.3 percent.

While Ontario as a whole has suffered from weak economic performance in recent years, the economic pain in the province has not been spread evenly. In fact, the province’s economic  performance has been uneven geographically, and some regions of the province have suffered significantly more than others. In order to illustrate the uneven recovery in Ontario, this study examines available economic metrics for the province’s urban areas, which are classified into Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Census Agglomerations (CAs). The paper pays particular attention to metrics of labour force performance, and especially to rates of job creation in the various urban areas. TheCMAs and CAs are grouped in order to highlight common themes, for the
most part by geography.

The study finds that most of the province’s job creation took place in its largest urban areas, as well as several metropolitan areas that are closely connected to the Toronto economy. In fact, the Toronto and Ottawa CMAs alone created the equivalent of 98.6 percent of all new net jobs in Ontario between 2008 and 2016. In other words, if the rest of Ontario outside of Toronto and Ottawa is taken as a whole, there has been almost no job creation at all since 2008.


Date of publication: 2017


Publisher: Fraser Institute

Jurisdiction: Ontario

About Lucie Morillon

Lucie Morillon is the Bilingual Content & Communications Co-ordinator for CERIC. With a passion for quality content, she connects with her online communities and provides strong resources to engage members – and always encourages new ones to get involved. She identifies, creates and curates the content destined for the ContactPoint website, the weekly CareerWise newsletter and Careering magazine.

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