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The Great Lakes Economy: The Growth Engine of North America

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We don’t often think about the states and Canadian provinces surrounding the Great Lakes as its own economy – but maybe we should.

After all, the region is tightly integrated in terms of trade. It alone accounts for more than 50% of all U.S./Canadian bilateral border trade and sees over 200 million tons of cargo shipped annually. If it were its own country, it would have a GDP of US$6 trillion – making it the third biggest economy in the world.

An Economic Powerhouse

Today’s infographic comes from the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and it breaks down the massive economic impact and trade partnerships that stem from the region’s prolific waterways, and the people living around them.

The Great Lakes Economy: The Growth Engine of North America

The Great Lakes Region has always been a center of trade. From the fur trade of the 17th century to modern day, the area’s navigable terrain, waterways, and ports have made it an easy place for goods to exchange hands.

Overview: The Great Lakes Economy

The Great Lakes Region includes eight states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) and two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) that surround the five interconnected freshwater bodies known as the Great Lakes. The area is home to 107 million people, 51 million jobs, and a GDP of US$6 trillion – making the Great Lakes Economy a powerhouse on an international level.

In particular, the region is well-known globally for its manufacturing prowess. It’s home to automobile and aerospace giants like Ford, GM, Chrysler, Bombardier, GE Aviation, and Magna International, and also many other diverse industries. Education and health, shipping and logistics, agriculture, mining and energy, tourism, and finance are some of the other major industries that generate business for the region.

And despite having a border, the Great Lakes Economy is highly integrated. Each year, there is $278 billion in bilateral U.S.-Canadian trade in the Great Lakes area – more than the entire region trades with countries like Mexico, China, UK, Germany and Japan combined.

Cross-Border Customers

The relationship between U.S. states and Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes Region is unique, and relies on goods flowing both ways.

For U.S. companies in the region, 78% of the imports they bring in from Canada are “intermediate goods”, which are raw materials, parts and components, and services that are used to produce other goods and services in the United States.

Here’s a breakdown of Canadian intermediate goods bought by U.S. states:

RankStateCanadian imports (Intermediate Goods, $USD)
#1Illinois$25.5 billion
#2Michigan$15.7 billion
#3New York$11.6 billion
#4Ohio$9.9 billion
#5Minnesota$7.6 billion
#6Pennsylvania$7.4 billion
#7Indiana$5.3 billion
#8Wisconsin$3.0 billion
Total$86.0 billion

Going the other way, Canadians buy billions of dollars worth of goods from the Great Lake states as well.

In fact, Canada is actually the biggest international customer for each state in the region – something we’ve previously shown in our USA/Canada trade infographic as well.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Although rhetoric against the U.S./Canadian trade relationship has ramped up in the recent months, there is still one enduring symbol that exemplifies the intimate trade relationship of the two countries in the Great Lakes Economy: the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

Each day, over this one 1.3 mi (2.3 km) suspension bridge alone, close to 10,000 trucks pass to generate close to US$500 million of international trade between the two nations.

That’s equal to 25% of all bilateral trade between Canada and the U.S. Amazingly, more bilateral trade happens over this single bridge than the U.S. does in its entirety with France, Germany, South Korea, or the United Kingdom.

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Mapped: The Industry Hiring the Most People In Every Country

The restaurant industry has the most vacancies in the U.S., followed by non-profit organizations.

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Mapped: The Industry Hiring the Most People In Every Country

Job searching can be challenging, especially when you are located in a region where your skills may not be in high demand.

This map illustrates which industry is hiring the most people in every country, based on LinkedIn job listings searched by Resume.io. This analysis only considers countries with 300 or more job listings and data is as of August 2023.

The Top Job Postings in America, Canada, the UK, and Australia

The restaurant industry had the most vacancies in the U.S., accounting for 7.9% of all job ads. It was followed by non-profit organizations with 5.6%, and motor vehicle manufacturing with 4.4%:

U.S. Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Restaurants7.86%
Non-profit Organizations5.59%
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing4.41%
Software Development4.28%
Hospitality4.07%
Wellness and Fitness Services3.78%
Financial Services3.76%
Transportation, Logistics, Supply Chain, Storage3.61%
Internet Publishing3.59%
Defense and Space Manufacturing3.53%

According to the study, the trend in restaurant hiring is indicative of America’s return to eating out after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, hospitals and health care were Canada’s biggest potential employers, with almost 15% of all job ads. Retail came in second with 12.4%, followed by staffing and recruitment with 6.8%:

Canadian Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Hospitals and Health Care14.82%
Retail12.45%
Staffing and Recruiting6.85%
Human Resources Services4.61%
IT Services and IT Consulting3.86%
Technology, Information and Internet3.75%
Financial Services3.53%
Manufacturing3.16%
Internet Publishing2.85%
Construction2.61%

In the UK, the construction industry had the most wanted ads with 9.2%. Britain’s construction industry has faced ongoing worker shortages, exacerbated by Brexit, which has prevented EU citizens from working in the UK without visas:

UK Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Construction9.22%
Industrial Machinery Manufacturing6.03%
Education Administration Programs5.78%
Financial Services4.88%
Non-profit Organizations4.69%
Civil Engineering3.99%
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing3.62%
Accounting3.45%
Advertising Services3.43%
Hospitality3.36%

Just three sectors accounted for over 30% of the jobs available in Australia. Government administration was the sector hiring the most people (11.60%), followed by staffing and recruiting (10.8%) and hospitals and health care (10.2%):

Australian Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Government Administration11.60%
Staffing and Recruiting10.81%
Hospitals and Health Care10.20%
Retail6.85%
IT Services and IT Consulting5.55%
Financial Services3.06%
Construction3.01%
Education Administration Programs2.68%
Human Resources Services2.54%
Software Development2.24%

Industry Hiring In Every Country by Job Ads in 2023

Across all countries, two sectors posted the most wanted ads in the most countries (28), staffing and recruiting and IT services and IT consulting. Healthcare and retail industries also appear among those in high demand.

CountryIndustry
🇦🇱 AlbaniaInternet Publishing
🇩🇿 AlgeriaBanking
🇦🇴 AngolaHuman Resources Services
🇦🇷 ArgentinaHuman Resources Services
🇦🇲 ArmeniaSoftware Development
🇦🇺 AustraliaGovernment Administration
🇦🇹 AustriaRetail
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanBanking
🇧🇭 BahrainStaffing and Recruiting
🇧🇩 BangladeshSoftware Development
🇧🇪 BelgiumStaffing and Recruiting
🇧🇴 BoliviaHuman Resources Services
🇧🇦 Bosnia and HerzegovinaSoftware Development
🇧🇷 BrazilTechnology, Information and Internet
🇧🇬 BulgariaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇰🇭 CambodiaHospitality
🇨🇦 CanadaHospitals and Health Care
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsIT Services and IT Consulting
🇹🇩 ChadStaffing and Recruiting
🇯🇪 Channel Islands (Jersey)Financial Services
🇨🇱 ChileHuman Resources Services
🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇨🇴 ColombiaHuman Resources Services
🇨🇩 Congo (Democratic Republic of the)Hospitality
🇨🇷 Costa RicaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇭🇷 CroatiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇨🇾 CyprusTechnology, Information and Internet
🇨🇿 Czech RepublicStaffing and Recruiting
🇩🇰 DenmarkRetail
🇩🇴 Dominican RepublicInsurance
🇪🇨 EcuadorIT Services and IT Consulting
🇪🇬 EgyptTechnology, Information and Internet
🇸🇻 El SalvadorHuman Resources Services
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EnglandStaffing and Recruiting
🇪🇪 EstoniaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇪🇹 EthiopiaSoftware Development
🇫🇮 FinlandIT Services and IT Consulting
🇫🇷 FranceStaffing and Recruiting
🇬🇫 French GuianaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇬🇪 GeorgiaStaffing and Recruiting
🇩🇪 GermanyStaffing and Recruiting
🇬🇭 GhanaHigher Education
🇬🇷 GreeceTechnology, Information and Internet
🇬🇵 GuadeloupeTechnology, Information and Internet
🇬🇹 GuatemalaHuman Resources Services
🇭🇹 HaitiStaffing and Recruiting
🇭🇳 HondurasIT Services and IT Consulting
🇭🇰 Hong Kong (SAR)Financial Services
🇭🇺 HungaryIT Services and IT Consulting
🇮🇸 IcelandHigher Education
🇮🇳 IndiaStaffing and Recruiting
🇮🇩 IndonesiaHospitality
🇮🇶 IraqDefense and Space Manufacturing
🇬🇧 Ireland (Northern)Staffing and Recruiting
🇮🇪 Ireland (Republic of)Staffing and Recruiting
🇮🇲 Isle of ManHuman Resources Services
🇮🇱 IsraelSoftware Development
🇮🇹 ItalyRetail
🇯🇲 JamaicaStaffing and Recruiting
🇯🇵 JapanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇯🇴 JordanTechnology, Information and Internet
🇰🇿 KazakhstanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇰🇪 KenyaSoftware Development
🇰🇼 KuwaitDefense and Space Manufacturing
🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇻 LatviaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇧 LebanonTechnology, Information and Internet
🇱🇮 LiechtensteinStaffing and Recruiting
🇱🇹 LithuaniaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇺 LuxembourgStaffing and Recruiting
🇲🇴 MacaoHuman Resources Services
🇲🇰 Macedonia (North)Technology, Information and Internet
🇲🇾 MalaysiaFinancial Services
🇲🇹 MaltaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇲🇶 MartiniqueTechnology, Information and Internet
🇲🇺 MauritiusFinancial Services
🇲🇽 MexicoIT Services and IT Consulting
🇲🇩 MoldovaInternet Publishing
🇲🇨 MonacoStaffing and Recruiting
🇲🇦 MoroccoIT Services and IT Consulting
🇲🇲 MyanmarStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇵 NepalSoftware Development
🇳🇱 NetherlandsStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇿 New ZealandStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇮 NicaraguaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇳🇬 NigeriaHuman Resources Services
🇳🇴 NorwayStaffing and Recruiting
🇴🇲 OmanStaffing and Recruiting
🇵🇰 PakistanSoftware Development
🇵🇦 PanamaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇬 Papua New GuineaStaffing and Recruiting
🇵🇾 ParaguayTelecommunications
🇵🇪 PeruHuman Resources Services
🇵🇭 PhilippinesIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇱 PolandIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇹 PortugalIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇷 Puerto RicoRetail
🇶🇦 QatarStaffing and Recruiting
🇷🇪 ReunionBusiness Consulting and Services
🇷🇴 RomaniaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇷🇺 RussiaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇸🇭 Saint HelenaSoftware Development
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaStaffing and Recruiting
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ScotlandStaffing and Recruiting
🇸🇳 SenegalStaffing and Recruiting
🇷🇸 SerbiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇬 SingaporeStaffing and Recruiting
🇸🇰 SlovakiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇮 SloveniaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇿🇦 South AfricaStaffing and Recruiting
🇰🇷 South KoreaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇪🇸 SpainIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇰 Sri LankaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇪 SwedenGovernment Administration
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandInternet Publishing
🇹🇼 TaiwanSoftware Development
🇹🇭 ThailandSoftware Development
🇹🇳 TunisiaSoftware Development
🇹🇷 TurkeySoftware Development
🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin IslandsIT Services and IT Consulting
🇺🇬 UgandaEducation Administration Programs
🇺🇦 UkraineSoftware Development
🇦🇪 United Arab EmiratesTransportation, Logistics, Supply Chain and Storage
🇬🇧 United KingdomConstruction
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaRestaurants
🇺🇾 UruguaySoftware Development
🇻🇪 VenezuelaConsumer Services
🇻🇳 VietnamSoftware Development
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 WalesConstruction

Which countries or industries stand out the most to you?

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