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Ontarians Happier This Labour Day

Last Friday, we blogged about a recent study that showed that the majority of Canadians would give up some of their pay for a better work-life balance. Evidently, finding enough hours in the day to complete personal tasks is quite difficult for most of those who hold down full-time jobs.

Undoubtedly, workers are especially happy for long weekends like this one, that include days like today. Today, is Labour Day, and while the majority of the nation enjoys an extra day of off work, there are still many others who wish they had somewhere to go to work tomorrow.

Last week, business reporter for The Toronto Star, Emily Mathieu wrote about this situation by outlining some of the trends that have been taking place in the Ontario workforce since the end of “bitter” recession. As she says, “Some of the figures are encouraging and some discouraging, depending on what you want to do for a living.”

“But, after many months of deep job cuts and uncertain economic forecasts,” she continues, “Ontario and Canada seem to be on the mend.” Among the bright spots in the country, she notes, is the construction sector. In spite of massive cuts during the recession, construction has enjoyed a “nice bounce” back.

According to Doug Porter, the deputy chief economist with BMO, construction workers in Ontario have increased by 10.5 per cent since last year. This is higher than the national average increase of 8.6 per cent. Ontario has also seen its average salary increase as well. Mathieu notes that this Labour Day, workers in Ontario make $23.10 an hour on average, compared to the national average of $22.44.

Ontario also boast the nation’s highest minimum wage at $10.25 an hour. She goes on to reveal that about half of workers in the province feel that their jobs are secure, although the national average is nearly 60 per cent. However, this is an improvement compared to 40 per cent of those polled a year ago at this time.

Porter adds that those who identify themselves as self-employed “took a 1.5 per cent dip between July 2009 and the same month this year. That reflects more people returning to salaried jobs as the recession ended. At the same time, jobs in the private sector were up 3.2 per cent, after heavy losses during the recession. Public sector jobs increased by 2.6 per cent.”

Finally, recent studies show that Ontarians are working shorter weeks. Writes Mathieu: “In July 2010 Canadians worked an average of 33.24 hours a week, compared to 34.69 in 2000, according to the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Business.”

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