Which industries employ the most people?


This chart shows the distribution of people employed in Ontario in 2013 by the major industry groups, also known as sectors. The information is based on Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey.

Ontario's economy has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. We have gone from an economy based on primary industries like agriculture, forestry and mining, to a manufacturing economy after World War II, and finally to today's knowledge-intensive service industries and high technology manufacturing economy.

Over the decades, the kinds of jobs available have also changed – away from occupations in primary industries and toward a wide variety of professional, technical and service occupations.

As this chart shows, there were about four times as many jobs in 2013 in service industries as there were in industries that produce products and materials. Among those ‘goods producing’ industries, manufacturing was the largest, although employment in manufacturing has declined significantly since 2004.

Manufacturing industries

Manufacturing industries have the largest share of jobs in the goods-producing sector in Ontario. But changes in the manufacturing sector have been reducing the number of manufacturing jobs – from 17 per cent of all Ontario jobs in 2004 to 11 per cent in 2013.

The following chart shows each manufacturing industry's share of the 777,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario in 2013.

  • Transportation equipment industry is Ontario's largest manufacturing group, with about 21 per cent of all manufacturing jobs. As this industry changes, and more advanced manufacturing processes are used, the greatest demand will be for highly skilled workers.
  • Other manufacturing, including furniture and related products, petroleum and coal products, and non-metallic mineral products is the second largest industry group, employing 20 per cent of manufacturing workers.
  • Food products industry is the third largest industry group with 14 per cent of manufacturing workers.

The computer and electronics industry is the eight largest with a share of five per cent of manufacturing employment.

This chart shows the distribution of people employed in the manufacturing sector in Ontario in 2013, by the major industry groups within that sector. The information is based on Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey.

Did you know
Often, manufacturing industries tend to be located in one area of the province. That's important information when you are thinking about a career. For example, Sarnia and the surrounding area are home to much of the chemical and petroleum industry. The computer and electronics industry is largely based around Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, and Waterloo Region, while the auto industry is largely located around Toronto and in Southwestern Ontario. Steel and other primary metal production is heavily concentrated in Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. Food, beverage, textile and clothing manufacturers are located in many different communities in Southern Ontario.


Service-producing industries

The service sector has been growing quickly and employs more than three quarters of all Ontario workers. There are many different kinds of services industries. This chart shows each service industry's share of the 5.5 million service jobs in 2013. It shows that the four largest industries in this sector are:

  • Wholesale and retail trade
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Educational services

Together, these four provide 53 per cent, or a little over half, of all jobs in the service-producing sector.

Because service industries serve the needs of people, job opportunities in these industries can be particularly sensitive to changes in the population, and consumer behaviour.

Changes in technology also have a large effect on job opportunities. For example, the use of computer and communications technologies by businesses has resulted in many job opportunities in the professional, scientific and technical service fields.

This chart shows the distribution of people employed in the services-producing sector in Ontario in 2013, by the major industry groups within that sector. The information is based on Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey.

Did you know
Some service industries tend to be located in particular parts of the province. For example, many of the jobs in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing are found in Toronto. The same is true for professional, scientific and technical services, although many jobs in these areas can also be found in the Ottawa region. Employment in public administration is concentrated in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area. Jobs in industries such as retail trade, however, are more evenly distributed around the province. In this case, the number of jobs is affected by the size of the population, with more jobs in larger towns and cities.


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