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Hamilton by the Numbers

Discover data about Hamilton, Ontario on:

Development, Dwellings, Economy, Households, Residents, Business Climate, Workforce

Value of Building Permits

City of Hamilton – (CDN Dollars)

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hamilton, and the world at large, the value of 2021’s building permits broke all previous records for the City of Hamilton. The City issued permits valued at $2,128,166,392 in 2021, a 53.8% increase over 2020’s building permit values. Industrial permits in 2021 increased by 102.3% compared to the previous year, and commercial permits increased year-over-year by 85.6%.

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Value of Building Permits
Permit Type20172018201920202021
Residential803,770,785836,963,130862,400,068967,984,5311,312,607,868
Commercial116,251,917124,800,222138,369,667121,723,102225,871,546
Institutional/Government250,696,894149,998,645154,492,28931,767,94255,629,270
Industrial172,044,198140,016,829225,306,551242,848,809491,376,348
Miscellaneous21,381,62412,978,30327,953,18919,156,18042,681,361

Source: City of Hamilton

Employment by Sector

Hamilton CMA – 2019 & 2020

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey reports on the number of people who are employed in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Annual data from 2020 reports that there were there were 384,900 employed residents in the Hamilton CMA. This figure is down 6.4% from 2019, and is largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 2021, monthly labour force survey data report 412,300 people employed in the Hamilton CMA – a 7.1% increase on the 2020 employment level.

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Employment by Sector
Employment Sector20192020
Wholesale and retail 6520060400
Health care 5660055500
Manufacturing4930046000
Construction2790038100
Education3310031000
Finance and insurance2690026200
Professional services3000023700
Public administration1370019400
Transportation and warehousing2060018100
Support services2060018100
Accommodation & food services2590016300
Other services 1610015000
Information & culture 1830012600
Agriculture 37001700

Source: Statistics Canada. 2019 and 2020 Labour Force Survey

Business Counts

City of Hamilton (CSD)

As of December 2020, Hamilton was home to approximately 15,782 businesses (including registered charities and not-for-profit organizations). Approximately 56.3% of Hamilton’s employers employ fewer than four people, and 74.6% of employers employ nine or fewer people. There are approximately 34,653 businesses operating without employees (i.e. establishments providing self-employment) in Hamilton.

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Business Counts
Micro (1-4 employees)8,888
Small (5-99 employees)6,569
Medium (100-499 employees)293
Large (500+ employees)32

Source: Canadian Business Counts, December 2020

Click here for a detailed breakdown of Hamilton’s businesses by business size.

Monthly Unemployment Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario

Hamilton reported a consistent unemployment rate in February 2022, maintaining January 2022’s rate of 4.7%. In contrast, the unemployment rate in Ontario fell considerably from 7.4% in January 2022 to 5.6% in February 2022. This change at the provincial level is largely due the easing of restrictions relating to COVID-19.

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Monthly Unemployment Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario
21-Apr21-May21-Jun21-Jul21-Aug21-Sep21-Oct21-Nov21-Dec22-Jan22-Feb
Hamilton7.47.88.48.18.17.26.45.34.94.74.7
Ontario9.19.68.48.78.776.45.85.37.45.6

Source: Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey. Tables 14-10-0017 and 14-10-0378. Seasonally unadjusted data.

Monthly Employment Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario

Hamilton’s employment rate declined slightly from 62.4% in January 2022 to 62.0% in February 2022. This change is likely due to the 3-month floating average used in capturing regional labour force data. This methodology also saw Hamilton report an increase in its employment rate in January 2022 even as the provincial employment rate briefly fell to 59.4%. Ontario’s trend – which is not measured with a floating average – increased to 60.9% in February 2022. As January’s employment statistics were driven by COVID restrictions, most of which will have eased or ended when the March data is collected, there is reason to expect Hamilton will see a return to a positive employment trends.

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Monthly Employment Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario
21-Apr21-May21-Jun21-Jul21-Aug21-Sep21-Oct21-Nov21-Dec22-Jan22-Feb
Hamilton61.16160.560.461.161.861.861.762.362.462
Ontario58.158.860.260.460.760.660.961.461.659.460.9

Source: Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey. Tables 14-10-0017 and 14-10-0378. Seasonally unadjusted data.

Monthly Participation Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario

Similar to the employment rate, Hamilton’s participation rate declined slightly from 65.5% in January 2022 to 65.1% in February 2022. During the same time period, Ontario’s participation rate increased from 64.1% to 64.5%. Once again, COVID-restrictions should be seen as a major driver of these data at both the regional and provincial level. As restrictions ease, the March and April data will offer a more stable baseline on local and provincial labour market conditions.

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Monthly Participation Rate (%) in the Hamilton CMA and Ontario
21-Apr21-May21-Jun21-Jul21-Aug21-Sep21-Oct21-Nov21-Dec22-Jan22-Feb
Hamilton6666.16665.766.566.666.165.265.565.565.1
Ontario63.965.165.766.166.565.265.165.26564.164.5

Source: Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey. Tables 14-10-0017 and 14-10-0378. Seasonally unadjusted data.

Annual Real Estate Sales

(# of units)

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Annual Real Estate Sales
Quarters2012201320142015201620172018
Q11,8771,6371,5671,7972,0082,3591,586
Q22,4242,4812,6433,1123,0302,9012,240
Q31,8632,0102,2332,4042,4921,8671,996
Q41,5121,6541,8041,9292,1291,9521,636

Source: The Real Estate Association of Hamilton-Burlington

Annual Housing Starts

(# of units)

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Annual Housing Starts
Quarters2012201320142015201620172018
Q1462405379140472576291
Q2716532655541572367984
Q3640494676425546443770
Q4391397426356529581452

Source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Economic Structure

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Economic Structure
2011201220132014201520162017
0.920.940.940.950.920.940.95

Highly diverse = 1
Not diverse = 0

Source: The Conference Board of Canada

Average Daily Rate – ADR

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Average Daily Rate – ADR
201420152016201720182019
110.48114.74119.36129.2146.99157.01

Values in $

Source: 2019 STR, Inc. / STR Global, LTD

Source: Based on information provided semi-annually by property owners in the Downtown Urban Growth Centre.
Source: Colliers International Q1 / 2020 Market Report
Source: The Conference Board of Canada. Metropolitan Outlook Autumn 2019
Source: The Conference Board of Canada. Metropolitan Outlook Autumn 2019

Opportunities Map

This interactive map shows all of our Community Improvement Project Areas, Business Improvement Areas, future Light Rail Transit investment, and Business Parks in Hamilton. Toggle the areas within the legend and see the associated description when you click on the highlighted areas.

Looking for specific data? Contact Adam Durrant, Business Development Analyst.