Canada Year Book


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    Households and consumers use a variety of service providers to meet their needs, ranging from book and newspaper publishers, to hotels and restaurants, to real estate agents and funeral homes. Service providers for businesses include advertising agencies, lawyers and accountants.

    Service industries have grown more quickly than goods-producing industries in recent years. Service industries represented 71.8% of the economy in 2010, up from 68.9% in 2006 and 66.1% in 2000. The gross domestic product (GDP) of service industries for 2010 was $890 billion, a 31.2% increase from 2000.

    In 2010, 78.1% of working Canadians—13.3 million people—worked in services, an increase from the 10.9 million Canadians who worked in service industries in 2000 (74.2% of those employed).

    Women more likely to work in service industries

    Women are more likely than men to work in services. In 2010, 55.2% of those employed in service industries were women. The health care and social assistance industries employed a particularly large number of women in 2010—almost 1.7 million, or 82.1% of the total number of employees in that field. Women filled a smaller portion of transportation and warehousing jobs, holding 23.6% of the jobs in that industry.

    The majority of employed women (66.1% in 2010) continue to work in occupations traditionally associated with women, such as teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, or jobs in sales and services. In contrast, 34.2% of employed men held these types of positions. The proportion of women working in business and professional fields has increased, however, rising to 50.6% in 2010, from 38.3% in 1987. Women also represented 76.2% of doctors, dentists and other health occupations in 2010, nearly unchanged from 75.6% in 1987. Women's representation in social sciences and religion increased from 61.4% in 1987 to 71.6% in 2010. Women's total share of managerial positions also rose from 30.1% in 1987 to 36.8% in 2010.

    Service industries on the rise in Alberta

    From 2000 to 2010, the GDP of service industries increased in most provinces between 24.4% and 32.7%. The exception was Alberta, where GDP from services increased by 51.2%, or $37.7 billion over the decade. This large increase may be because services are catching up in Alberta's resource-rich economy that has traditionally been dominated by goods production. In 2000, services represented 53.0% of the GDP in Alberta; by 2010, this had increased to 61.5%.

    The provinces with the largest service concentrations in 2010 were Nova Scotia (78.1%), British Columbia (77.3%), Prince Edward Island (76.9%), Ontario (75.5%) and New Brunswick (75.0%). Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province where the services GDP decreased over the decade, from 63.1% in 2000 to 59.4% in 2010. This drop was likely because of the recent focus on natural resources and the goods-producing sector in that province.

    Business and professional services increasing

    Business and professional services are an increasingly important part of the Canadian economy. Over the past decade, business services—such as finance and insurance, real estate and rental and leasing, and management of companies and enterprises—increased their GDP contribution the most of all the service industries. These services rose 2.5 percentage points from 18.4% in 2000 to 20.9% in 2010.

    The GDP of business services as a whole was $682.3 billion in 2010, compared with $515.5 billion in 2000. By industry, the GDP of finance and insurance reached $83.4 billion in 2010, compared with $61.0 billion in 2000. The GDP of real estate and rental and leasing rose to $164.0 billion in 2010, up from $121.9 billion in 2000.

    The economic output of professional, scientific and technical services totalled $60.8 billion in 2010, which increased their share of the services GDP from 4.5% in 2000 to 4.9% in 2010. This was a levelling off from the growth experienced in the late 1990s. Retail trade experienced a 1.1% increase, accounting for 6.2% of the services GDP in 2010. All other service industries essentially maintained their proportion of the GDP.

    chart 3.1 GDP, goods-producing industries and service industries
    View data source for chart 3.1


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