The census metropolitan area (CMA) of Barrie, north of Toronto, had the fastest employment growth of all census metropolitan areas between 2001 and 2006. It was followed by Kelowna, Calgary and Edmonton.
Employment among people living in Barrie rose by 17,400, or 22.9%, to 93,400 in 20061. In Kelowna, it rose by 14,200, or 21.0%, to 82,000. The slowest rate of growth occurred in Windsor, where employment increased by only 2.1% between 2001 and 2006.
Of the three largest metropolitan areas—Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver—Vancouver had the highest employment growth, with an 11.0% gain. Construction was changing its skyline, as housing prices and demand increased and the city began to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
In central Canada, both Toronto and Montréal experienced slower employment growth between 2001 and 2006, compared with the previous five years. In fact, their growth lagged behind that of both Calgary and Vancouver. On the upside, Toronto, like the rest of the country, was in the midst of a housing boom, and the financial capital of the country got a big boost for workers in finance and business.
Like Toronto, manufacturing troubles dogged Montréal, which shed textile jobs. But some of these losses were offset by gains in employment in a number of industries, including financial services and in child day-care services.
In Ontario, Windsor faced the worst of the declines in auto parts manufacturing. Windsor's unemployment rate rose from 6.3% in 2001 to 8.3% by 2006, the third highest in the country after Saguenay and St. John's. However, unemployment rates in both Saguenay and St. John's declined during this five-year period.
Although Windsor's unemployment rate increased, its employment rate in 2006 was still higher at 59.0% than St. John's (58.7%) or Saguenay (54.8%).
In contrast, unemployment rates improved in several Quebec CMAs. Québec City had an unemployment rate of only 4.6%, one of the lowest in the country. This was a big improvement from the rate of 6.9% five years earlier.