Surprise! Canadian Industries You Didn’t Expect To See Gaining — Or Losing

April 1, 2013 by Emsi Burning Glass

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Recently we were asked to take a look through our Canadian industry data and find some “surprising” industries that had been growing or shrinking faster than we might have anticipated. By winnowing through the hundreds of 4-digit industry classifications in our data, we managed to find a few genuinely surprising industries that have grown – or declined – at eye-catching rates. Here are a few of each:

1. Community care facilities for the elderly

While much of the ink that’s been spilled over the impending skills gap has focused on how Canada’s aging workforce is going to lead to openings in jobs vacated by retiring workers, there hasn’t been much attention given to the other jobs those retirees will create. Over the last four years, retirement homes have mushroomed by a remarkable 47%, including a big spike of just under 20,000 jobs (about 33% at the time) between 2009 and 2010. With Canada’s demographics continuing to skew older, expect this pattern to continue.

2. Residential developmental handicap, mental health and substance abuse facilities

This is a bit of a broad category, and we wouldn’t want to attribute all of its growth to one or another of the three sorts of facilities it covers. But, tagging along with growth in the retirement home industry, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of growth happens in these other kinds of residential care facilities. They added over 20,000 jobs between 2009 and 2012, a 44% increase.

3. Architectural, engineering and related services

It’s common knowledge that there’s a glut of architecture students on the market, which has combined with a lengthy and difficult training program to make architecture an ill-advised choice for those seeking career direction. All the same, though, thanks to Canada’s relatively strong construction industry, there have been a large number of new jobs in architecture and engineering – more than 30,000 since 2009.

4. Florists

On the flip side, it was a terrible four years for Canada’s florists. With increasing competition from the internet, as well as likely a financial push on such relatively unnecessary purchases, Canada’s florists have shed 11% of their already small workforce since 2009. That’s over 1,400 jobs trimmed.

5. Motion picture and video industries

This one’s a real surprise, especially given the constant buzz over Vancouver’s reputation as “Hollywood North.” As we blogged about, this number is a little misleading, as Toronto and other eastern labour markets have suffered drastic job losses that Vancouver’s major gains haven’t been enough to offset. But the new jobs being created on the Pacific coast are probably little consolation to motion picture workers in Toronto, who lost the majority of the 4,800 jobs that this industry has shed since 2009.

6. Grocery Stores

The biggest surprise loser, though, was definitely grocery stores. It’s hard to pin down a definite cause for why, as the population (and its corresponding appetite) has increased significantly and internet shopping continues to play very little role in food shopping. What isn’t hard to see, though, is that Canada’s grocery store industry is a terrible bargain for jobhunters, as it’s cut over 31,000 jobs since 2009.

Data for this post came from the 2013.1 Beta dataset in Analyst for Canada, EMSI’s web-based labour market tool. Follow us on Twitter @desktopecon. Email Fraser Martens if you have any questions or comments, or would like to see further data.