By Chris Elliott, Senior Economist (May 26/15) Canada’s restaurant industry ended 2014 and began 2015 on a strong note. Commercial foodservice sales jumped by a better-than-expected 5.4% in the first two months of the year, despite rising economic uncertainty, volatile consumer confidence and soaring household debt. Another indicator – employment – confirms the growth in sales.
Restaurant industry employment (which also includes accommodation in Statistics Canada’s monthly Labour Force Survey) rose by 7,100 jobs in the first four months of 2015. This growth sharply contrasts with the loss of 20,000 jobs in the construction industry. Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas also lost 20,000 jobs, while manufacturing shed 1,200.
Provinces with job growth…
The devil is in the details, as only three provinces reported higher employment. In the first four months of 2015, Ontario’s restaurant and accommodation sector added 16,200 jobs – of which 11,000 were in April alone. New Brunswick boasted an increase of 2,400 jobs in the first four months, while Newfoundland and Labrador gained a modest 200 jobs.
…and job cuts
The rest of the country had less to brag about as employment fell. After healthy gains in 2014, employment slipped by 3,100 jobs in British Columbia. Quebec’s woes continue as it reported the largest decline by shedding 4,200 jobs.
Alberta’s restaurant and accommodation industry shed 2,000 jobs, but the decline could have been worse. Remarkably, employment levels are higher than they were a year ago. Several industries in Alberta fared worse than the restaurant sector. For example, construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas all endured significant job losses.