With much of the economic attention in Ontario focused on reopening in the pandemic’s wake, it’s easy to lose sight of the long-term picture. While the pandemic was an unforeseen shock to provincial employment and income, it remains that Ontario has seen weak employment and income growth for much of the 21st century with the decline in growth rates settling in after 2005.
Consider this. From 1990 to 2005, total employment in Ontario grew 23 per cent and real per capita GDP grew by 17 per cent. However, even omitting the COVID year, going from 2005 to 2019, Ontario’s total employment grew only 15 per cent while real per capita GDP grew by 8 per cent.
In the case of employment, this pattern of slowing growth repeats itself across Ontario’s economic regions with a range that is alarming. Indeed, all Ontario economic regions saw lower employment growth from 2005 to 2019.
Specifically, Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie saw employment grow 42 per cent from 1990 to 2005 but only 20 per cent in the subsequent 15-year period.
During these same two periods:
Toronto went from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, Muskoka-Kawarthas from 23 per cent to about 3 per cent, Windsor-Sarnia from nearly 18 per cent to -2 per cent.
The province’s north fared badly with the northeast going from 0 per cent to -1 per cent and the northwest from -3.6 per cent to -3.8 per cent, ultimately making for 30 years of no employment growth.
For the rest of this column: https://www.fraserinstitute.org/blogs/ontario-government-has-made-covid-economic-pain-even-worse