London experiences a “lost decade” of meaningful employment

On Tuesday, January 26, Mayor Matt Brown announced in his “State of the City” that in London, 9000 new jobs were created in 2015 and noted that more Londoners are working now than ever before. Dr. Don Kerr, professor of Sociology at King’s University College, found that while the good news is that unemployment for the CMA is now down to pre-recession levels of 6%, our city has a deficit of 5,400 full-time jobs since 2005.

When the Statistics Canada’s annual employment figures for 2015 are compared with those released a decade earlier (2005), it is evident that while London’s population has grown at a moderate rate over the last decade (+6%, or by over 30,000), the growth in the number of jobs available to those looking for work has not kept up, increasing by only 1.1%. In addition, the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey revealed that in the London CMA, the number of full-time jobs available in London in 2015 was actually lower than a full decade earlier, at only 197,400 jobs in 2015 relative to 202,800 jobs in 2005, for a loss of 5,400 full-time jobs over the decade.  While the loss of full-time jobs in London has been partially compensated by an increase in the number of part-time jobs, a part-time job is a poor substitute for full time employment.  The statistics are showing that employment growth over the last decade has not kept up with the pace of population growth and the proportion of Londoners currently employed, either full-time or part-time, has declined in a pronounced manner.

What this data is showing is that London is experiencing a “lost decade” as it recovers from the recession. What looks like growth in employment rates is actually London making up for the ground that was lost since 2005. The London Poverty Research Centre at King’s shines a light on this startling research by Dr. Kerr so we can understand the challenges we face when addressing issues of poverty and precarious employment in London.

A detailed report on Dr. Kerr’s research can be viewed here: Statistics & Data – London’s lost decade

For more information, please contact Dr. Don Kerr at 519 433-3491 x4438 or dkerr@uwo.ca.