Since 1983, Toronto has monitored the City’s employment by conducting an annual survey of businesses. The data collected is vital to monitor the City’s economic health, as well as aiding in decision and policy making. It is essential background information for forecasting and planning the City’s infrastructure and services for the citizens and businesses of Toronto. The Survey is a unique resource in Canada for the private and public sectors.
How the Survey Works
Throughout the summer, surveyors visit each and every business establishment in the City of Toronto. That’s over 69,990 locations. The surveyors collect information about the number of employees working there, and the type of work that is taking place. No other programme relates Toronto employment and land use.
Your Information is Confidential
The information collected is treated as strictly confidential. The data is only released to the public in aggregate form. This allows employment patterns to be studied without revealing specific information on individual businesses.
We Need You
The continued success of this important survey depends on the co-operation and assistance of the City’s business community. We rely on each business establishment to provide us with information on the number of full- and part-time employees as well as the type of employment activity taking place at each location.
Watch out for a surveyor at your business this summer and count your business in.
2021 Survey Results
The 2021 Employment Bulletin summarizes the results of the 39th annual Toronto Employment Survey and provides an analysis of changes in Toronto’s economy over the past decade. The bulletin reports on key employment trends by sector, and on evolving employment patterns across the City and in Downtown, the Centres, Employment Areas, Secondary Plan areas, and Provincially Significant Employment Zones. This edition of the bulletin also discusses the growth and composition of the coworking sector in Toronto.
Toronto Employment Concentration, 2021
- Due to COVID-related data collection challenges outlined below, the Survey results as collected in 2021 may not have fully captured pandemic recovery data. It is expected these data will be captured in 2022 with the return to field survey work.
- The Toronto Employment Survey counted 1,451,520 jobs in 2021.
- Total employment in the city of Toronto is essentially unchanged in 2021 from the year before. The Survey observed a slight increase in employment from 2020 of 1,610 jobs or 0.1%. This follows the steep decline of 119,890 jobs city-wide in 2020 during the first year of the pandemic, a decrease of 7.6% from 2019.
- Full-time employment increased by 5,260 jobs (0.5 per cent) from 2020.
- Part-time employment decreased by 3,650 jobs (-1.1 per cent) from 2020.
- Manufacturing as well as Service employment declined by the highest rate, at 1.7%. Institutional, followed by Office employment increased by the highest rate, at 0.9% and 0.7% respectively.
- The Office category continues to be Toronto’s largest employment category with over half of all jobs (51.5%).
- The Survey counted 69,990 establishments in 2021, a decrease of 3,090 establishments (-4.2 per cent).
- 820 new business establishments opened in 2021, with 50.9 per cent opening in Employment Areas, Downtown, or in the Centres.
- Toronto’s Downtown and Centres contained 624.020 jobs in 2021, or 43.0 per cent of all employment.
- In 2021, 391,670 jobs were located in Employment Areas, or 25.0 per cent of all jobs in Toronto.
- Employment Areas contained 88.6 per cent of all Manufacturing jobs in 2021.
- The leading employment activity in Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PZEZs) was Manufacturing, comprising 23.5 per cent (51,160 jobs) of all jobs located in a PSEZ.
Total Employment in City of Toronto, 1983-2021
Total Employment – 2011, 2020, 2021
||Total Number of Employees
Source: Toronto Employment Survey, 2011, 2020 and 2021.
Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest ten. Totals and sums may differ due to rounding.
- In 2021, over 1,500 establishments reported significant employment change as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing a net loss of 10,000 jobs.
- A majority of these establishments, approximately 660 reported employment decreases totaling almost 24,000 jobs. A further 500 establishments with 1,550 jobs closed temporarily due to the pandemic, and around 170 establishments with 830 jobs closed permanently citing the pandemic as the reason.
- In 2021, the categories that reported being impacted most significantly by COVID-19 were the Service sector and Community and Entertainment sector. While these impacts were largely negative in 2020, in 2021 both categories reported both the highest percentage employment decreases due to COVID-19 as well as the highest percentages increases.
- Of the 500 businesses that temporarily closed due to the pandemic, approximately 84% of those were in the smallest business size category with 1-4 employees.
- In 2021, just over 11,500 establishments reported having some degree of work-from-home employment, with approximately 206,000 jobs reported as work-from-home. They represent around 16% of all Toronto establishments, and 14% of employment in the city.
- Among establishments that reported work-from-home employment, the highest reported averages were in the Office and Institutional sectors (72% and 15% respectively). The remaining sectors of Manufacturing and Warehousing, Retail, Service, and Community and Entertainment each reported less than 5% work-from-home employment – a similar composition to 2020 (work from home employment is captured based on workplace location).
Annual Change in Establishments Reporting Work-From-Home Employment by Sector
Extended Survey Responses for Downtown Establishments
- Additional questions were asked of select establishments in a pilot area within Downtown regarding the frequency of work-from-home employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for opinions on the return to in-office work. Nearly all of the responses were given by Office establishments (99%).
- A total of 267 establishments, representing 17,330 jobs (about 3% of Downtown employment), responded to a question about the frequency of work-from-home during the pandemic. Most respondents (56%) reported that employees worked from home for five days per week in 2021.
- A total of 234 establishments, representing 26,766 jobs (5% of Downtown employment), responded to a question about their opinions about return-to-office work and business operations post-pandemic. About two-thirds of respondents expected staffing levels to return to normal after the impact of the pandemic, representing an overall positive outlook for the state of business in Downtown. At the time of the Survey, about 30% of establishments had reported that employees had already returned to work in some capacity.
Work-from-Home Employment Extended Survey Response by NAICS Sector*
*All other NAICS sectors had a less than 1% response rate.
Toronto's Coworking Sector
- Coworking is defined here as the concept or practice of unaffiliated professionals working alongside each other, in an open plan office space that includes a combination of shared workspaces and amenities such as Wi-Fi, printers, and kitchen facilities.
- Starting in 2019, the Toronto Employment Survey conducted research on Toronto’s Tech and Coworking sector. In 2021, the Survey counted 115 coworking spaces. This is an increase of 25 from 2020.
- In 2021, tenant employment within Toronto’s coworking spaces represented 4,070 full-time jobs and 1,905 part-time jobs.
Coworking Sector, 2019-2021
|Coworking Sector Analysis, 2019-2021
|| % Change
Source: Toronto Employment Survey, 2019, 2020, 2021.
Survey Results from Previous Years
For copies of Employment Bulletins from 2003 to 2020, please contact Hailey Toft by telephone at 416-392-8343 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto Employment Survey Summary Tables for 2016 to 2021 are available on the Open Data Catalogue.