Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Employment recovery stronger in occupations with apprentices

March 24, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Declines in employment between October 2008 and October 2009 were larger in occupations for which an apprenticeship program exists than in all other occupations combined. However, between October 2009 and October 2010, the recovery in employment was stronger in these apprenticeable occupations than in all other occupations, according to a new study released by Statistics Canada, Apprenticeable Occupations and the Employment Downturn in Canada.

The study reveals that apprenticeable occupations saw employment losses of 5.7 percent between October 2008 and October 2009, compared with 1.3 percent for other occupations. The decline in employment had the greatest impact on welders, exterior finishing occupations, machinists, carpenters and heavy equipment and crane operators, including drillers. These decreases were especially reflected by employment losses in the mining and oil and gas extraction, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing and construction sectors, all of which are closely associated with employment in apprenticeable occupations.

On the other hand, the increase in employment between October 2009 and October 2010 was more beneficial to workers in apprenticeable occupations. These occupations posted gains of 3.3 percent between October 2009 and October 2010, compared with two percent for workers in other occupations. However, employment in October 2010 (2,892,000) remained below its October 2008 level (2,969,000).

For all occupations combined, the employment downturn took its heaviest toll in Ontario and Alberta, where employment decreased by 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. However, the biggest losses in apprenticeable occupations occurred in British Columbia (down 14.4 percent) and Quebec (down 11.8 percent).


In British Columbia, the five apprenticeable occupations that experienced the largest losses were electricians (down 33.4 percent), interior finishing trades (down 30 percent), food service trades (down 29.7 percent) and heavy equipment and crane operators, including drillers (down 28.3 percent).

In Quebec, the most affected occupations were carpenters (down 38.2 percent), hairstylists and estheticians (down 27 percent) and truck drivers (down 18 percent).

With respect to apprenticeable occupations, employment declined by 12.3 percent among workers who had not finished high school, compared with a 1.9 percent decrease for workers who had an apprenticeship or trades certificate.

Although Quebec and British Columbia were hardest hit by the decline in employment in apprenticeable occupations, these two provinces saw the strongest growth rates one year later. Employment rose by 73,400 (up 12.1 percent) in Quebec, and by 20,600 (up 5.6 percent) in British Columbia between October 2009 and October 2010. Those two provinces alone accounted for 85 percent of the employment gains in apprenticeable occupations over that period.

Apprenticeable Occupations and the Employment Downturn in Canada is now available in the February 2011 issue of Education Matters (Vol. 7, no. 6), Statistics Canada’s free bi-monthly periodical. For more information, visit In “browse by subject,” click on “Education, training and learning,” and then “Education Matters” under featured products on the right.

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