Men, especially less educated men, see their wages decline, when manufacturing jobs disappear, according to a new study. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

  • Jan. 20, 2020 12:00 a.m.

A new study from Statistics Canada found that the declining of Canadian manufacturing has hurt men, especially lesser-educated men.

The study found that the share of full-time employed Canadian men aged 21 to 55 declined to 58.6 per cent in 2015 compared to 63.6 in 2000.

But this general decline in men’s full-year, full-time employment rates appeared more pronounced in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs), which have experienced larger-than-average declines in the relative importance of the manufacturing sector, like southern Ontario.

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“For example, from 2000 to 2015, men’s full-year, full-time employment rates fell by 10 percentage points or more in the Ontario areas of Windsor, Oshawa, St. Catharines–Niagara and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo,” it reads.

The share of the population aged 21 to 55 employed in manufacturing fell by between eight and 10 per cent from 2000 to 2015 in these areas — roughly twice the rate of decline observed across all CMAs and CAs during the same period.

The study also found that the decline of manufacturing contributed to two-thirds or more of the decline in men’s full-year, full-time employment rates in CMAs such as Montréal, Ottawa–Gatineau, Windsor, Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines–Niagara, Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo and Guelph between 2000 and 2015.

The study also found that the decline in manufacturing pulled money out of the pockets of men. If manufacturing declined five per cent in any given CMA or CA, real weekly wages of male employees living in the affected areas would drop by at least 6.9 per cent.

“Less educated men were somewhat more affected,” it reads. “Estimates suggest that a [five per cent] decline in the share of the population employed in manufacturing reduced the real weekly wages of men with a high school diploma or less by at least 7.3 [per cent] compared with a decline of at least 4.8 [per cent] for their counterparts with a bachelor’s degree or higher.”

Notably, the study shows “little evidence” that declining manufacturing employment observed since the early 2000s led to reduced full-year, full-time employment rates for women in various CMAs or CAs. “The factors behind this gender difference remain to be determined,” it reads.

Canadian results concerning men broadly match data from the United States, with the proviso that men in the United States see their wages drop faster when manufacturing jobs disappear. This said, the loss of manufacturing has also impacted women in the United States not impacted in Canada.


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