Jobless rate climbs after recent declines

Jobless rate climbs after recent declines

Despite a strong appetite from area employers looking to hire, Brantford’s jobless rate jumped in June as employment fell.

The Brantford Brant unemployment rate climbed to 6.5% in June, up from 6.1% in May, reversing four straight months of declines, according to June 2021 employment estimates released by Statistics Canada on Friday. Norfolk’s jobless rate for June was 7.4%, down from the 9.2% seen in the previous quarter that ended in March.

The June 2021 employment figures are based on surveys of residents conducted June 11 to 19, just after the first phase of restrictions were lifted in Ontario.

Across Canada, employment grew by 231,000, pushing down the national monthly jobless rate to 7.8%. Ontario also regained jobs and the provincial rate fell almost a full percentage point to 8.4%.

About 1,700 fewer Brantford area residents worked in June, the majority of whom left the workforce.

“It’s disappointing to see fewer people working,” said Danette Dalton, the WPBGE’s executive director. “The numbers remind us of how strongly the pandemic and its restrictions impact people’s thoughts about work, the job market and economy.”

Dalton said that since Statistics Canada conducted its survey in mid June, restrictions have further eased in several types of businesses, especially retail and restaurants. “We would anticipate that more people have gone back to work or started new jobs in the last couple of weeks,” she said.

Local job losses have mainly been in the service sector, including occupations related to sales, call centres, security and building maintenance. On the flip side, employment has been growing in occupations in management, computer support, engineering, and other science related jobs.

The board’s Grand Erie Jobs website saw a jump in local job postings in June, with about 2,800 new listings, 800 more than in May. About 1,600 different businesses had at least one job listing last month.

Grand Erie Jobs launched four additional online tools recently, including several tools that will help job seekers see which businesses hire for specific occupations.

The Workforce Planning Board is currently accepting applications for its free Skills2Advance job training program that prepares people to work in manufacturing and warehousing, both industries that have been hiring. The next class starts Aug. 3. 

Skills2Advance is one of several free programs operating in the Brantford and Grand Erie region that train people to work in jobs that are in demand.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on June 2021’s job market in Canada and Ontario.

Grand Erie Jobs 2.0 launched by WPBGE

Grand Erie Jobs 2.0 launched by WPBGE

The Workforce Planning Board has launched Grand Erie Jobs 2.0 to better help residents find work, research careers and learn about local businesses.

Grand Erie Jobs 2.0 builds on online tools introduced a year ago that connect people with jobs and community services in Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River.

The most widely used tool for the past year has been a job board that shows local job openings, typically more than 1,000 each month.

“Grand Erie Jobs has quickly become our region’s largest, most comprehensive job board and thousands of residents have used it over the last year to search for work and explore career paths,” said Executive Director Danette Dalton.

“These exciting new tools will give individuals even more information about local wages, in-demand occupations, skill requirements and which employers hire most frequently. Our goal is to offer residents a full toolbox of tools they can use to be successful.”

The number of online tools has doubled to eight, including some new ones that could be useful to local businesses, economic development leaders and employment services.

The new tools are:

  • Occupation Finder: Provides information on all 500 occupations, identifying local wages, employers and demand from businesses.
  • Industry Search: Provides information on different industries and identifies local companies from each industry.
  • Sector Locator: Uses a map to show local companies that hire for specific jobs, and highlights where those businesses and jobs are concentrated.
  • Talent Finder: A tool that employers, recruitment firms and communities can use to target talent attraction campaigns for hard-to-fill jobs.

Dalton said that the Workforce Planning Board has ambitious plans to create additional online tools that help people navigate the local job market, discover how to improve their skills, and tap into available training, education and employment.

“We are building a must-use community resource. We can use these tools to build a stronger, more resilient workforce and a robust local economy.”

Tourism Grand Erie

Tourism Grand Erie

Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, Canada’s Tourism Industry accounted for $105 billion in total economic activity and 1.8 million jobs, half of which were held by people under the age of 35.

Tourism is a dynamic and vastly diverse industry, comprised of innovative travel, hospitality, accommodations, as well as various cultural and recreational businesses in every region of the country, including the Grand Erie region.

While the past year has placed a heavy toll on tourism, the support of local patrons has provided opportunities to kick-start recovery. In 2020, there were 13,666 jobs in the tourism industry in Grand Erie (13% decline from 2019) with Brantford employing the largest number of tourism positions (6,500) followed by Norfolk (3,602) and Haldimand Counties (1,795). (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Between December 2019 and December 2020, the local tourism sector lost 18 businesses. The total number of tourism businesses in Grand Erie as of December 2020 is 2851, of which 1297 have employees. Notably, 1,245 tourism businesses in the region employ 5-99 people and 14 employ 100-199. (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Some of the top tourism businesses in the region include personal care services and recreation businesses.

Completion of training for the tourism industry has been on the rise in our region in the recent past. In 2018, 222 people completed hospitality administration and management programs in Grand Erie, which is up from 108 in 2016. (Source: EMSI Analyst)

Over the course of the pandemic, tourism operators have worked to implement high standards of health and safety protocols and have often dedicated much time and resources on adapting premises, training staff and changing processes to ensure a safe and welcoming environment when they are given the go-ahead to reopen.

While there are currently still restrictions in place, there are great destinations, attractions and local businesses across Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk to keep in mind for when measures are lifted. Below are some highlights of our region’s tourism destinations that you can plan now, to explore later.

Haldimand County

Visiting Haldimand County is a rural retreat with plentiful fishing opportunities and an abundance of cycling and hiking trails. In Haldimand County’s towns and hamlets, there is an atmosphere of small-town charm, with unique attractions, quaint shops, cultural and historic sites, and a range of accommodations and restaurants.

Six Nations of the Grand River

Located alongside the picturesque waters of the Grand River, Six Nations is a community everyone should experience. Visitors can explore its unique history, culture, events, attractions, businesses and a variety of experiences unmatched by any other community throughout the nation.

Norfolk County

Norfolk County’s wineries, breweries and farm markets highlight Norfolk County’s status as Ontario’s Garden. Some of its popular destinations are the towns along Lake Erie, with warm sandy beaches in Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point. Back roads provide scenic cycling routes and attractions include live theatre, boat cruises, tasty food in port towns. Abundant outdoor adventures include eco tourism, fishing, birding, star-gazing, and camping.

County of Brant

“Rich In Culture, Adventurous In Nature” – from paddling the Grand River to exploring parks and trails and visiting beautiful and vibrant small towns, the County of Brant has tons of charm to offer local residents and visitors once it is ready to reopen and welcome explorers.


In Brantford, you can explore world-class entertainment options, shop at unique boutiques, taste your way through the city, and brush up on your local history at one of the city’s many museums and galleries.

While COVID-19 has had an undeniable impact on the tourism sector in our region, Grand Erie Jobs data indicates that many businesses within this sector are continuing to hire for top tourism positions, including retail salespersons, cashiers, store shelf stockers, retail sales supervisors and retail and wholesale trade managers.  


Fewer people active in May job market

Fewer people active in May job market

May 2021 employment numbers show Brantford’s jobless rate fell, but it was more due to residents leaving the labour force than people starting jobs.

The city’s unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month in May, landing at 6.1%, down from 6.4% in April, according to Statistics Canada seasonally adjusted estimates.

Canada shed 68,000 jobs last month with the monthly unemployment rate virtually unchanged at 8.2%. Ontario’s monthly jobless rate climbed modestly to 9.3% as employment fell by 32,000.

Brantford’s unemployment rate is lower than the surrounding communities of Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, St. Catharines-Niagara and London. But Brantford was the only job market in the area that saw the size of its labour force shrink in May.

The city’s labour force shrunk by about 1,100 in May. The majority were employed residents leaving the workforce and not searching for new work. Others were unemployed people who gave up looking for work, according to the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

The largest drop in the labour force has been among young male workers, ages 15 to 24, with about 800 fewer working or looking for work.

“The pandemic has caused a lot of ups and downs in people’s lives. It’s understandable if some people have felt disheartened and discouraged, and have dropped out of the labour force,” said executive director Danette Dalton.

“Hopefully, these discouraged workers will return once things stabilize more. We are fortunate in our community to have a lot of employment support services and training opportunities.”

Dalton said the Workforce Planning Board continues to see a healthy number of jobs listed on its Grand Erie Jobs board. There were 1,300 new jobs posted last month for Brantford and Brant County, and another 600 more positions were for jobs in Norfolk, Haldimand and Six Nations.

May 2021 data from Grand Erie Jobs on most frequently posted job openings has been consistent for months, with material handler the No. 1 posting. Others in the top-5 were retail salespersons, home support workers and related occupations, customer service representatives, and general farm labourers.

In Ontario, Statistics Canada is reporting the student job market is particularly challenging. The unemployment rate for students, ages 15 to 24, was estimated at almost 28% in May. This, however, is better than the 41% from May 2020 during the first lockdown.

Visit Statistics Canada to read its News Release about May 2021’s job market in Canada and Ontario.

Work-Life balance survey launched

Work-Life balance survey launched

A new Workforce Planning Board survey is asking local residents about challenges they face achieving a healthy work-life balance.

The Navigating Work-Life Balance in Grand Erie survey is aimed at adults in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Executive Director Danette Dalton said the pandemic has drawn additional attention to the subject of work-life balance, especially with more people working from home and students of all ages taking online classes.

“It can be tricky balancing work life and home life at any time, especially with so many demands on our time,” Dalton said. “We want to hear directly from individuals so we can better understand what factors are causing stress and imbalance in the lives of workers.”

Dalton said work-life balance can be impacted by many things: money, job insecurity, shift work, family responsibilities, physical and mental health, and more.

The survey will provide information that could be used by individuals to make changes in their lives, or to identify supports workers may need from employers or community organizations, she said.

“Employees, employers, families and the community all benefit by supporting healthy work-life balance. There’s a large return on investment for everyone.”

The Workforce Planning Board hopes to have at least 500 surveys completed over the next few months. All information collected is confidential.

People who complete the survey are eligible for weekly prizes that promote a healthy lifestyle. Prizes include a Fitbit, child and youth bikes, and gift cards for community businesses.

The Workforce Planning Board thanks community partners for their support.

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