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.”

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 can take the survey by clicking on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WLB-web

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.

April 2021 employment showed modest gains

April 2021 employment showed modest gains

April 2021 employment numbers for Brantford showed modest job gains, even as new lockdowns sidelined workers across Canada.

The city’s jobless rate fell to 6.4% in April, down from 7.2% in March, according to the latest seasonally adjusted estimates from Statistics Canada released Friday. Local employment reached the highest level since the pandemic’s first wave a year ago in April 2020, when the jobless rate was 8.9%.

April 2021 employment numbers show Brantford fared better than many places in Canada.

Employment fell by about 207,000 jobs across Canada as COVID-19 restrictions were tightened in several provinces, pushing up the national monthly jobless rate to 8.1%. Ontario’s monthly unemployment rate climbed to 9%, due to an estimated 153,000 fewer residents working.

Ontario started its current stay-at-home order on April 8, just prior to Statistics Canada conducting its labour force survey April 11 to 17.

“It’s great to see the Brantford area’s unemployment rate at a one-year low,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board. “We hope that trend continues, but we may continue to see instability in the job market, especially if the pandemic’s third wave isn’t brought under control.”

Dalton said it is important to remember that “there are still more than 5,000 local residents who don’t have jobs, which means thousands of families are struggling and need our community’s support.”

In Brantford, April 2021 employment numbers show that more women across all age groups worked full-time, while full-time work fell among men, with young workers ages 15 to 24 the hardest hit. Part-time employment grew for men.

There were about 1,200 new job listings in April for the city of Brantford on the Grand Erie Jobs job board. Another 1,000 new jobs were listed for Brant, Norfolk, Six Nations and Haldimand. A large majority of job postings are for full-time permanent positions.

While material handler remains the No. 1 job posting locally, employers are looking to fill a wide variety of positions. Businesses are still recruiting for sales, customer service and restaurant jobs, even with the curtailing of these types of operations. Many area farms are also hiring.

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

March 2021 job numbers show dip in unemployment

March 2021 job numbers show dip in unemployment

March 2021 job numbers show that Brantford’s jobless rate dipped after the previous month’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were lifted.

The local unemployment rate fell to 7.2% in March, from 7.6% in February, according to seasonally adjusted estimates from the Statistics Canada survey conducted mid-month. Norfolk’s monthly unemployment rate was 9.2% last month, down from 11% during the same month in 2020.

Nationally, Canada gained 303,000 employees, bringing the unemployment rate down 0.7 percentage points to 7.5%. In Ontario, the unemployment rate decreased to 7.5%, from 9.2% the previous month, marking the lowest rate for the province since March 2020.

Statistics Canada’s March survey of Brantford area household was conducted prior to Ontario’s latest stay-at-home order. Job numbers are expected to shift because of that order, said Danette Dalton, executive of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“We are anticipating that the most recent stay-at-home order will have impacts on local employment,” Dalton said. “We’re committed to monitoring local labour market trends closely, and keeping the Grand Erie community informed and educated about local workforce needs and supports.”

Locally, March 2021 job numbers show that the unemployment rate is up 1.7% since March 2020, when the impact of COVID-19 was first felt in Brantford. While employment did rise for both males and females last month, youth (aged 15-24) employment continued its downward trend.

Young women have been particularly affected by pandemic-related labour market shifts, with 2,400 fewer employed since March 2020. Many of these individuals were previously working part-time in the manufacturing, construction and healthcare industries.

More than 1,000 employees joined the Brantford area workforce between February and March, with much of this growth concentrated in the health care and social assistance sector. Meanwhile, employment in Brantford’s wholesale and retail trade and education sectors declined for the third consecutive month.

To assist youth in navigating the world of work, the Workforce Planning Board, in collaboration with organizations from across the region, is hosting a webinar – Youth Work NOW! – on April 29th at 11 a.m. The event will showcase local resources to help youth aged 15-24 find a summer job, their first full-time job or start their own business! To register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YWN

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

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