Unemployment Rate


The unemployment rate identifies the percentage of the labour force (those people who are employed or are actively seeking employment) that is unemployed. Both businesses and citizens look to this measure, among others, to understand employment demand and opportunity for the designated area, with a lower unemployment rate normally signalling a job market favouring the job seeker, and a higher unemployment rate normally signalling a job market favouring the employer.

Story behind the numbers

The data from the past five years shows a downward trend in the unemployment rate. This indicates that a larger percentage of the population, actively involved in the labour force, has been successful in finding and maintaining a job.

Provincially, Hamilton has consistently outperformed the provincial average over the past five years.

Nationally, Hamilton has one of the lowest unemployment rates compared to all major urban areas.

Performance improvements

The Economic Development Office undertakes work to build the local economy in a number of ways. 

  1. Business development focuses on attraction/expansion and retention of new and existing businesses. 
  2. Urban renewal focuses on building employment opportunities in Hamilton’s six downtowns and 13 Business Improvement Areas. 
  3. The Small Business Enterprise Centre, which focuses on building the entrepreneur ecosystem in the city and working with partners like Innovation Factory to advance small business growth.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 282-0135 (March figures used)

Unemployment Rates (March)

Area 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Hamilton 6.4% 6.7% 5.8% 5.6% 5.9% 5.6% 5.3%
Ontario 7.8% 7.8% 7.4% 6.9% 6.8% 6.3% 5.5%
Canada 7.5% 7.1% 7.0% 6.7% 7.2% 6.7% 5.8%