Service sector dominates job growth in 2000

The robust Canadian economy produced a large number of jobs last year; 319,000 to be exact, a two per-cent increase from 1999, according to Statistics Canada.

However, the increase was down slightly from the preceding three years when an average of 400,000 new jobs were created annually.

Also in stark contrast to 1999, when manufacturing led the hiring, the service sector dominated growth in 2000. “Indeed, for every additional goods-producing job, 10 service jobs appeared,” writes Geoff Bowlby, in StatsCan’s The Labour Market: Year-end Review. Most of the jobs were in the retail and wholesale trade (with women and young people taking most of these new jobs), though computer-related service jobs enjoyed another significant spike from the year before

By the end of the year, 250,000 people were employed in the computer systems design industry doing what is classified as service work such as programming, Web page design and system analysis. That was an increase of 20,000 people (nine per cent) from 1999 and overall the industry has tripled since 1994.

A natural consequence of more service jobs is an increase in part-time work but of the 319,000 new jobs created last year, 263,000 were full-time (2.2 per cent) while the remaining 56,000 were part time (2.1 per cent).

Computer workers weren’t the only knowledge workers with more opportunities last year. Broadcast and telecommunications employment increased by 22,000 jobs (11 per cent), and there were another 19,000 people (24 per cent) hired in publishing.

Perhaps, unsurprisingly in light of the good economic times, employment in leisure and recreational facilities was way up in 2000. About 40 per cent of the 21,000 new jobs can be attributed to casino developments, another half were working at golf courses, ski hills, and fitness centres. Nearly 160,000 people now work in this field, more than double the number at the start of the ’90s.

There is also some evidence in the numbers to suggest more organizations are contracting out work. In recent years, the number of Canadians working for employment placement agencies, temp help services and the like has gone up dramatically. Last year alone, an additional 17,000 people found work in employment services, a 25 per-cent increase from the year before, bringing the total to 85,000. That’s more than double the level of 1994.

And while more than 300,000 new jobs were created last year, the unemployment rate ended the year where it started at 6.8 per cent, due to an increase of people in the labour market.

Other findings from StatsCan:

•2000 was the first since 1986 that self-employment declined;

•private-sector hiring was unusually strong in 2000 — by last November, 65.6 per cent of all working Canadians were in the private sector, the highest rate since 1976; and

•much of the labour market participation rate increase is attributed to youth activity with fewer young people attending school — in 2000, 56 per cent of youths attended school full time, down one point from 1999.

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