Brantford jobless rate edges up, but stays low

Brantford jobless rate edges up, but stays low

September 2021 employment numbers for Brantford saw the jobless rate edge up, but it is still one of the lowest in Ontario.

September’s local unemployment rate was 6.1%, up from 5.7% in August but matching July’s figure, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by Statistics Canada on Friday.

Norfolk County’s jobless rate for the last three months averaged 7.7%, though figures for September suggest unemployment has climbed due to a drop in part-time work, possibly related to summer jobs.

Across Canada, employment grew by 157,000 jobs in September, dropping the national monthly jobless rate to 6.9%. Ontario accounted for almost half of the job gains and the provincial jobless rate fell for the fourth straight month to 7.3%. All figures are based on a Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics Canada the week of Sept. 12 – 18.

In Southern Ontario, only Guelph at 6% has a lower jobless rate than Brantford. Hamilton is close at 6.3%, while Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo is next at 7.2%, London 7.3% and St. Catharines-Niagara 8.2%.

“It is good to see Brantford has one of the lowest unemployment rates, but there’s still more work to do to recover from the pandemic and grow the local economy,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“There are still people struggling to find the right fit in a job and there are still businesses that are struggling to find staff.”

Dalton said many businesses are experiencing a competitive job market, with high demand for service industry occupations in particular. There were more than 2,800 new jobs posted in September on Grand Erie Jobs, the job board operated by the Workforce Planning Board.

Almost 40 area businesses looking to hire are participating in a 3-day virtual job fair, Oct. 19 – 21, organized by St. Leonard’s Community Services. People can contact St. Leonard’s for more information.

In Brantford, the September employment numbers tell a different story depending on age group and sex of workers.

Youth aged 15 to 24 have seen the largest job gains over the last few months, with females benefiting more. By contrast, employment has fallen in the core working age group of 25 to 54, with the majority of the losses affecting men. Employment has grown for men aged 55 and over, but has stayed the same for women.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on September 2021 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Jobless rate for Brantford area now lowest in Ontario

Jobless rate for Brantford area now lowest in Ontario

August 2021 employment in the Brantford continues to climb, as more businesses look to hire.

Brantford’s jobless rate fell to 5.7% in August, down from 6.1% last month, based on seasonally adjusted estimates released Friday by Statistics Canada.

Employment increased by 90,000 nationally, bringing Canada’s unemployment rate down to 7.1%, from 7.5% last month. The provincial unemployment rate also decreased by 0.4 percentage points, to 7.6%.

The Labour Force Survey was conducted during the week of August 15 to 21, a month after Ontario entered Stage 3 of its reopening plan, which lifted final restrictions for many businesses.

The August jobless rate in Brantford was the lowest in Ontario. The Brantford unemployment rate was significantly lower than that of surrounding large metropolitan areas: Hamilton (7%), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (7%), Guelph (7.2%) and St. Catharines-Niagara (10.5%).

Locally, sales and service jobs saw the largest growth, followed by business, finance and administration and manufacturing and utilities occupations. Many more youth (aged 15 to 24) gained work, raising this group’s participation and employment rate considerably.

The Workforce Planning Board’s job board – Grand Erie Jobs – has seen a staggering increase in the number of job listings in recent months, with a record high of over 3,100 new jobs posted in the month of August. Sales and service workers, as well as trades, transport and equipment operators continue to be in high demand.

However, the average duration of job posts is increasing.

“We’re hearing that a lot of employers are having difficulties filling some positions,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board. “Many businesses are offering competitive wage and benefit packages to attract workers.”

Dalton encourages hesitant job seekers to explore the many new and exciting opportunities that are becoming available as the economy opens up.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on August 2021 employment in Canada and Ontario.

July jobless rate dips to 6.1% in Brantford area

July jobless rate dips to 6.1% in Brantford area

July 2021 employment was little changed locally, but the jobless rate still fell.

The Brantford Brant unemployment rate was 6.1% in July, down from 6.5% in June, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by Statistics Canada.

Employment grew by 94,000 across Canada, dropping the national jobless rate to 7.5%, down 0.3%. Ontario saw some of that employment growth, causing the provincial jobless rate to fall to 8%.

Brantford recorded the lowest unemployment rate among its neighbouring areas; the next lowest is Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo at 7%. St. Catharines-Niagara was the highest at 10.6%.

Most key measurements of the Brantford area labour market, including the number of people participating in the workforce, stayed the same in July as the month before.

But the July 2021 employment numbers may not fully reflect the labour market due to the timing of the Statistics Canada labour force survey.

Statistics Canada surveyed local residents during the week of July 11 to 17. Meanwhile, Ontario dropped many of the final restrictions on businesses starting July 16. That included allowing indoor dining, fuller retail shopping, and the reopening of gyms, galleries, museums and cinemas.

“We expect that the number of local people working jumped after July 16, but we will have to wait a month to see by how much,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board. “There’s certainly more people out dining, shopping and doing other activities, which points to businesses bringing staff back to meet the demand.”

The Workforce Planning Board has seen an uptick in recent months in the number of postings on its Grand Erie Jobs job board. About 2,900 jobs were posted in July, slightly above June’s record high. Several service-related jobs are among the most in demand, including retail salespersons, customer service representatives, cooks and cashiers.

Dalton said there are signs that some residents are continuing to take a wait-and-see approach to re-entering the job market.

“We are hearing from more businesses that they are struggling to hire, and the Employment Ontario agencies that help people find jobs are seeing fewer clients than usual. Some job seekers are still hesitant to get back into the job market,” she said.

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

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.

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