Employment is always an important indicator of economic growth and success and the figure below provides a good perspective on how some of Ontario’s major centers are doing when it comes to job creation. Employment data from Statistics Canada is used to compare total employment growth between 2001 and 2016 for 15 major CMAs. These major CMAs are ranked from highest to lowest and their employment growth ranges from a high of 38.8 percent for Oshawa to a low of -2.4 percent for Thunder Bay.
After Oshawa the most buoyant CMAs for employment creation are Barrie at 33.2 percent, Guelph at 27.1 percent, Toronto at 26.8 percent and then Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge at 26.1 percent. The worst performers are Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, London, Windsor and Thunder Bay. The middle performers are Ottawa, Peterborough, Brantford, Kingston and Greater Sudbury.
Employment growth is the greatest in the central Ontario golden economic triangle going from Kitchener-Waterloo to Barrie to Oshawa that includes Toronto. This is an area of specialized services, advanced manufacturing, and the home of Ontario’s high tech and knowledge sector. The opportunities here create jobs, attract population and fuel investment in housing and infrastructure.
Despite its proximity to this region, Hamilton-Niagara does surprisingly poorly but it is more like the periphery outside the Golden Triangle – the old manufacturing cities of Windsor and London. Ottawa is outside the Golden Triangle but as the home of the federal government, it has it own economic engine. As for the north and the east of Ontario, they are having a tough time keeping up. More than ever, the Golden Triangle is now Ontario’s dominant economic center of gravity.