Labour market and Employment trends by Tracey Adams and Sandy Welsh
Without labour market statistics to guide us, we would not be able to understand how
experiences may be changing and where we need to focus our attention
A labour market is where employers and employees come together, where workers get
distributed into jobs and industries
The labour market you have access to determine how much you will earn, how many
hours you will work, and the quality of your working life
Labour market segmentation theory focuses on how labour markets are “segmented” or
separated into sections containing different kinds of jobs
Jobs are divided according to their location in the “core” or “periphery” of the economy
Core industries tend to be capital intensive, large, and unionized, and they can exert
control over their environment
The periphery is characterized by lower tier service industries and jobs in highly
Primary labour market jobs are modelled on the notion of a “lifetime” job that guarantees
workers a high level of job security, annual wage increases, and opportunities of
Secondary labour market jobs do not offer much security or upward mobility and are
therefore sometimes called dead end jobs.
Labour market chances are also affected by membership in unions and professional
associations, also known as labour market shelters, which limit entry into jobs and protect
One outcome of labour market segmentation is the creation of labour market ghettos,
which trap certain groups of workers in some of the worst jobs in the labour market or
within occupational categories.
Sex and racial segregation occupations can lead to job ghettos that can trap women and
workers of colour.
All market economies go through regular periods of expansion and contraction
Goods-producing industries, as defined by Statistics Canada, include natural resources,
manufacturing, construction, and agricultural; service industries include retail and
wholesale trade, health care, public administration, education, business services,
information, culture, and recreation.
Deindustrialization refers to the decline of the industrial and goods producing sector in
Canada and the US beginning in the 1970s and the subsequent rise of the service sector.
In 2005, the manufacturing sector was the second largest employer in Canada.
Sociologists are concerned about the decline of manufacturing jobs, which have long
represented good jobs in terms of wages, benefits, and security, and thus the best
opportunities for young workers, especially young men, with high school education or
less. Marx saw private employment relationships under