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Good bet for a job: Help keep the lights on

Employment in the utilities sector has surged 16 per cent in the past year, last week’s labour force survey shows, making it by far the biggest growth area in the country. Natural resources comes next, with annual growth of 9.3 per cent.

Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Job seekers and career changers take note: the sector with the biggest employment gains in the past year, percentage-wise, isn't in mining, nor in fast food, nor in banking.

It's utilities. Employment in the utilities sector has surged 16 per cent in the past year, last week's labour force survey shows, making it by far the biggest growth area in the country. Natural resources comes next, with annual growth of 9.3 per cent.

In fact, the bulk of growth between September of last year and this September has occurred in the goods-producing side of the economy, in areas such as agriculture, mining and even manufacturing. Employment growth on the goods side has risen at four times the pace as that of the services side.

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Job creation looks a little different when you look at sheer numbers -- utilities (which includes work in power generation and water supply) and natural resources still employ a small portion of the total.

In numbers terms, the biggest gain is educational services, with an employment gain of 65,400 in the past year. Factory employment is next, with an increase of 40,900 in spite of a rising Canadian dollar and fierce global competition. Finance, insurance and real estate, along with health care and social assistance, have also added more than 30,000 apiece in the past year.

The biggest declines? Percentage-wise and in sheer numbers, they're in public administration -- little surprise, as governments trim spending, along with professional services and accommodation and food services.

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

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