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Public sector employment in Ontario falls short of other provinces

Yesterday, I noted that public sector employment in Ontario has declined as a percentage of total employment. But public sector employment in Ontario is also low when compared with the other provinces.

In 2012, public sector employment was 19.6% of all classes of workers in Ontario (public sector, private sector, and self-employed).  Canada-wide, however, the average is 20.6%.   In all other provinces except Alberta and British Columbia, public sector workers are a bigger part of the workforce. 

Public sector workers are also a bigger percentage of the population in all other provinces, except Alberta and British Columbia.  

If we had the same percentage of the population working in the public sector as the Canada-wide average, we would have another 65,000 public sector jobs in Ontario.  The same would be true if we had the same percentage of jobs in the public sector as the Canada-wide average.   

Finally, at 65% of the workforce, private sector workers make up a bigger percentage of the workforce in Ontario than in every other province except (where else?) Alberta.

(For the chart supplying the data for the information noted above, click here  -- download the document for easier viewing). 

Ontario's low ranking in terms of public sector work is odder still if you consider that the national capital is located in Ontario  -- along with many tens of thousands of federal public service jobs.

The good news is that the decline in public sector employment as a percentage of work has been less marked in Ontario than across Canada.  In 1976, public sector employment Canada-wide was 23.7% of all work, but it had declined to 20.6% by 2012 -- a very large 3.1% decline.  The decline in Ontario has been more modest -- from 22.2% of all work to 19.6%, a mere 2.6% decline.  

For that, I guess, working people in Ontario can be proud.


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