Strategically located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in the Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal corridor, Port Hope's industrial base is stable and diverse with several servicing niche manufacturing markets. Many manufacturers actively export to markets around the globe while a majority serve the Greater Toronto Area market. While unemployment has increased to 7.15 percent, employment has held up well in light of recent economic conditions and the strong manufacturing component in Port Hope's economy. The Municipality of Port Hope is home to Viceroy Homes, Esco Limited, Cameco, Cameco Fuel Services, Akzo Nobel and CPK Innterior Products – one of the largest manufacturing employers between Oshawa and Kingston. Over 70 percent of Port Hope's manufacturers are small to medium sized companies with fewer than 50 employers.
Manufacturing has the greatest share of jobs in Port Hope with just over a quarter of jobs (25.3%). This is followed by jobs in the retail trade (11.6%) and health care and social assistance (11.5%). According to the Corporation of the Municipality of Port Hope, manufacturing employment declined between 2001 and 2010 by 9.7 percent. However, 2006 and 2010 saw a recovery with an increase of 18.2 percent. Industries showing the most growth were in real estate rental and leasing (49%), Utilities (36.4%) and mining and oil and gas extraction (35.5%).
In examining jobs in Port Hope by occupational composition, the occupational categories showing the highest concentration in 2010 are sales and service; trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations; and business, finance and administration. The fastest growing occupations between 2001 and 2010 were social science; education; government service and religion occupations (64.2%), art; culture; recreation and sport occupations (49.4%) and health occupations.
Port Hope's population profile is older than Ontario but younger than the County of Northumberland and as such, future challenges posed by an ageing society are more pronounced in Port Hope. Another issue facing the quality of jobs in Port Hope is the number of students leaving school without any qualification in Port Hope, signifying that too many young people are relying on limited education credentials. Community college programs and apprenticeships are providing the skills required by the manufacturing industry for jobs in Port Hope resulting in an abundant supply of highly qualified university graduates no longer being necessary for most jobs in Port Hope. However, economic restricting has resulted in a transition to more technology intensive processes and a knowledge based economy; this lowering the number of low skilled jobs on Port Hope.