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Dynamics of the Canadian Manufacturing Sector in Metropolitan and Rural Regions


  • Baldwin, John R.
  • Brown, W. Mark
  • Vinodrai, Tara


This paper documents the changing geography of the Canadian manufacturing sector over a twenty-two year period (1976-1997). It does so by looking at the shifts in employment, as well as other measures of industrial change, across different levels of the rural/urban hierarchy - central cities, adjacent suburbs, medium and small cities, and rural areas. The analysis demonstrates that the most dramatic shifts in manufacturing employment were from the central cities of large metropolitan regions to their suburbs. Paralleling trends in the United States, rural regions of Canada have increased their share of manufacturing employment. Rising rural employment shares were due to declining employment shares of small cities and, to lesser degree, large urban regions. Increasing rural employment was particularly prominent in Quebec, where employment shifted away from the Montreal region. By way of contrast, Ontario's rural regions only maintained their share of employment and the Toronto region increased its share of provincial employment over the period. The changing fortunes of rural and urban areas was not the result of across-the-board shifts in manufacturing employment, but was the net outcome of differing locational patterns across industries. Change across the rural/urban hierarchy is also measured in terms of wage and productivity levels, diversity, and volatility. In contrast to the United States, wages and productivity in Canada do not consistently decline moving down the rural/urban hierarchy from the largest cities to the most rural parts of the country. Only after controlling for the types of manufacturing industries found in rural and urban regions is it apparent that wages and productivity decline with the size of place. The analysis also demonstrates that over time most rural and urban regions are diversifying across a wider variety of manufacturing industries and that shifts in employment shares across industries - a measure of economic instability - has for some rural/urban classifications increased modestly.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, John R. & Brown, W. Mark & Vinodrai, Tara, 2001. "Dynamics of the Canadian Manufacturing Sector in Metropolitan and Rural Regions," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001169e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2001169e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Statistics Canada, 1999. "The Entry and Exit Dynamics of Self-employment in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999134e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
    3. Baldwin, John & Lin, Zhengxi, 2002. "Impediments to advanced technology adoption for Canadian manufacturers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, January.
    4. Miles Corak, 2001. "Are the Kids All Right? Intergenerational Mobility and Child Well-being in Canada," The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress,in: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director & France St-Hilaire, Vice-President , Research & Keith Banting, Di (ed.), The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2001: The Longest Decade: Canada in the 1990s, volume 1 Centre for the Study of Living Standards;The Institutute for Research on Public Policy.
    5. Statistics Canada, 1995. "Restructuring in the Canadian Manufacturing Sector from 1970 to 1990: Industry and Regional Dimensions of Job Turnover," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995078e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Statistics Canada, 2001. "A Tale of Three Cities: The Dynamics of Manufacturing in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, 1976-1997," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001177e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Statistics Canada, 1995. "Socio-economic Statistics and Public Policy: A New Role for Microsimulation Modeling," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995081e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    Cited by:

    1. S├ębastien Breau & David L. Rigby, 2010. "International trade and wage inequality in Canada," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 55-86, January.
    2. Statistics Canada, 2001. "Differences in Interprovincial Productivity Levels," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001180e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Statistics Canada, 2001. "Impact of the Adoption of Advanced Information and Communication Technologies on Firm Performance in the Canadian Manufacturing Sector," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001174e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Statistics Canada, 2005. "Work and Commuting in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1996 to 2001," Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas 2005007e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    5. John Baldwin & W. Brown, 2004. "Regional manufacturing employment volatility in Canada: The effects of specialisation and trade," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 519-541, July.
    6. Beckstead, Desmond & Brown, W. Mark, 2005. "Provincial Income Disparities Through an Urban-rural Lens: Evidence from the 2001 Census," Insights on the Canadian Economy 2005012e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
    7. Peter Gordon & Bumsoo Lee, 2003. "Settlement Patterns in the U.S. Canada:Simliarities and Differences - Policies or Preferences?," Working Paper 8605, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.

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    Business performance and ownership; Industries; Labour; Manufacturing; Regional and urban profiles;

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