January 11, 2024: Unemployment Rate Rises to 5.8%, Permit Value Declines 12%

January 11, 2024

Employment declined more than labour force between November and December, which resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate from 4.3% to 5.8%. Total ICI permit value was down by 12.2% between October and November, led by declines in the commercial and institutional sectors.

From November to December, employment decreased from 603.6 thousand to 573.3 thousand, and the labour force decreased from 630.9 thousand to 608.3 thousand. This caused the unemployment rate to increase from 4.3% to 5.8%; this is higher than the unemployment rate of the previous two Decembers and close to the rate of 5.3% from December 2019. The overall Ontario unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5%.

Despite the year-over-year drop in employment (-4%) and labour force (-1.3%), female employment was 10.9% higher compared to Dec 2022, while the labour force participation was up 13.4%. Female employment and labour force participation has been higher all year round when comparing 2023 to 2022. Looking at age, the 15-24 cohort declined the most, with a 27.8% decrease in year-over-year employment and a 20.9% drop in the labour force. Interestingly however, employment and labour force for the population 55 and over increased by 5.1%. and 7.6% respectively.

Monthly Changes 
From October to November, total ICI permit value decreased 12.2% from $2.04 billion to $1.79 billion. This was primarily due to an almost 40% decline in the institutional sector ($832.6 million to $500 million). Commercial sector permit value decreased by a smaller amount, from $729.3 million to $611.9 million. Industrial permit value on the other hand, increased 42.5% from $475.7 million to $678 million.

Overall year-to-date ICI permit value was up 17% compared to the same time last year.  The largest percentage increase was in the institutional sector, as there were several months with significant gains.



Ali Ahmad
Research Analyst

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222