Brantford-Brant area jobless rate sees spike

Brantford-Brant area jobless rate sees spike

June 2024 employment figures for Brantford-Brant showed the largest month-over-month increase in over a year, but other data suggests the swing isn’t as dramatic as it first appears.

The Brantford area unemployment rate climbed by 0.8 percentage points in June to 5.7%, according to Statistics Canada estimates, which are seasonally adjusted and a three-month moving average.

Other Statistics Canada data that isn’t seasonally adjusted or averaged out over several months shows that the jobless rate has been gradually increasing and didn’t just have a sudden one-month jump.

Norfolk County’s unadjusted unemployment rate for June was 5.5%, down a full percentage point from May. However, for the three-month period April to June, the average tops 6%.

The unemployment rates for Ontario and Canada both climbed last month, the provincial rate hitting 7% and the national one reaching 6.4%, continuing a gradual upwards trend.

Trend in other parts of Canada

Both rates have climbed by at least one full percentage points since June 2023, the Canadian economy unable to create enough new jobs to accommodate an influx of people into the labour market.

“What we’re seeing in our local area with more people looking for and unable to find work, leading to a gradual increase in unemployment, is happening all around us and across the country,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director.

“We know from talking with employers, community partners and local government that many businesses have tightened up hiring. And when they do have a position, they often get hundreds of applications.”

Dalton said the planning board is currently surveying employers and workers separately to better understand their challenges, including if there’s a skills mismatch contributing to employment barriers.

“Having local businesses complete our EmployerOne survey and having workers and job seekers do our new Workforce Skills and Training survey helps us get a fuller picture of the local job market,” she said.

On planning board’s Grand Erie Jobs online job website, 5% fewer employers were looking to hire in June. But the number of new jobs that appeared remained at about 2,200, led by nurses and retail salespersons.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read their news release on the June 2024 employment numbers for Canada and Ontario.

May employment reaches 1-year high

May employment reaches 1-year high

May 2024 employment in Brantford-Brant reached a one-year high, while the jobless rate continued to hover around 5%.

May’s local unemployment rate was 4.9%, the same as from January to March, and just below April’s 5%, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released by Statistics Canada.

At the same time, the local employment rate – the percentage of the population 15 years and older who are working – reached 64.8%, the highest since May 2023.

May 2024 employment numbers showed Ontario gained 50,000 jobs – the most in Canada – and the provincial jobless rate dipped to 6.7%. Employment grew by a net 27,000 gain across Canada last month, as employment fell in some provinces. The national jobless rate inched up to 6.2%.

The overall size of Brantford-Brant’s labour force has grown by 1,900 since May 2023, with 1,100 of those people finding work, while the other 800 have not.

“Those numbers are a reminder that even with Brantford having one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario, there are local residents who need supports and help finding jobs,” said Danette Dalton, of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“There are a lot of great local organizations working to help people find jobs and to boost their skills.”

Dalton said residents can turn to different types of supports, including: government-funded employment centres, literacy and basic skills services, organizations that help residents with special needs or newcomers, and free job training programs such as the planning board’s new Skills2Advance Try a Trade.

“These organizations also work with local employers to help them find the workers they need,” she said. “Neither job seekers nor businesses should shy away from reaching out to ask for help.”

There were more than 2,150 new jobs posts – a 13% increase – in May on Grand Erie Jobs, the online job website operated by the planning board. There was also a 19% increase in active jobs posts, with 4,250, while 11% more companies advertised jobs compared to April.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read their news release on the May 2024 employment numbers for Canada and Ontario.

Epic Jobs 2024 attracts record numbers

Epic Jobs 2024 attracts record numbers

Epic Jobs 2024 attracted a record-high 2,400 students, making it the largest Epic event in its 5-year history.

Grade 7 and 8 students from schools across the Grand Erie region spent hours at the event, held May 22, at Brantford’s Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, taking over the floor of one rink and an outdoor parking lot.

“We saw a lot of happy smiles on the faces of students, which is proof in itself of what a hit Epic Jobs was,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board, the event’s main organizer.

“Students were excited and curious to learn about dozens of trades, meet tradespeople and try the many hands-on activities. Girls were just as interested as the boys, which is great to see because we need more women in the trades in the future.”

Students could try their hand at soldering pipe, operate a crane, strip electrical wire, use power tools, ride a scissor lift, and put on safety equipment used by hydro workers, construction workers and firefighters. Students could also see heavy equipment up close, including a $1-million piece of forestry equipment, participate in a construction skills competition or race around a police obstacle course. See photos on our Epic Jobs webpage.

Organizations that employ or train people who work in service-related jobs, from youth worker to hairstylists, also showcased what they do.

Community-minded sponsors & exhibitors

Dalton said Epic Jobs 2024 was made possible by the support and contributions of 60 partners, sponsors and exhibitors, all of whom had a shared goal to show what great opportunities there are in the trades and related careers.

“We’re very thankful for these community minded companies, trade unions, colleges and organizations for sharing what they do and what careers they offer,” she said. “These students can be working for them within the next five to 10 years.

Dalton also thanked the dozens of volunteers, some of whom were retired tradespeople, school board staff and employees at community agencies, for making the latest Epic Jobs the largest and most successful yet since it was first held in 2017.

Organizing partners were: Grand Erie District School Board, Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) operated by the school boards, Organized Kaos and the planning board.

Major sponsors were: Stelco, LiUNA Local 837, Ontario Power Generation, Grand Renewable Wind and Simply Electric.


“Stelco Lake Erie Works is located in Nanticoke and it is important for students and schools to know the various well-paying, secure jobs right in their community. A career in the trades can lead to growth opportunities in engineering, specialist roles and management. The competencies and transferrable skills you learn in trades can be used at home and work.”

– Erica Chow, Human Resources, Stelco


“LiUNA Local 837 supports events like Epic Jobs, because we feel it is important to support our local community partners and it gives us exposure as to who we are, what we do and why we do it. Liuna has been and always will be a place of opportunity. Helping others is one of many good things that LiUNA does for the community, youth and members of our union. Connecting to the community helps not only LiUNA grow, but helps the youth grow, which in return will better for our industry and future.”

– Nick Ciccone, Executive Board Member and Training Director, LiUNA! Local 837


“Ontario Power Generation recognizes the importance of showcasing the diverse opportunities in trades to young people. By sponsoring Epic Jobs, we aim to inspire students to pursue trades training, filling skill gaps while nurturing a skilled workforce for the future and supporting local businesses in southwest Ontario.”

– Nick Pender, Vice-President Niagara Operations, Ontario Power Generation


“We place great importance on supporting communities where we develop projects, operate facilities and have corporate offices.”

– Ashley Church-Crawford, Senior Site Logistics Coordinator, Grand Renewable Wind

April job numbers show little change

April job numbers show little change

April 2024 employment numbers for Brantford-Brant once again saw little change compared to recent months.

After sitting at 4.9% for three straight months, April’s local unemployment rate was 5%, according to seasonally adjusted figures from Statistics Canada.

Even though the Canadian economy added 90,000 jobs in April – far more than forecasted – the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.1%. Ontario added 25,000 of those jobs, but the provincial jobless rate still nudged up 0.1 percentage points to 6.8%.

In labour markets nearest to Brantford, only Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo saw their unemployment rate fall last month. Brantford maintained its second-place spot after Guelph, whose is the lowest at 4.4%.

“The Brantford area labour market continues to be healthy and stable, and the status quo is a good position to be in,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. “But alongside that story, there are other interesting trends that have become more noticeable.”

One of those trends relates to shifts in work type.

There has been little change in total local employment in the last 12 months, but the number of residents working full time has increased by about 3,300, while part-time work has fallen by an equivalent number.

“It’s considered a positive barometer for the economy when full-time jobs increase,” Dalton said. “It points to employers doing well financially and having greater business confidence, and they show it by hiring or moving part-timers to full time.”

Of the jobs posted in April on the Grand Erie Jobs online job board, operated by the planning board, four in five were full-time positions. Almost 90% were permanent positions, either full time or part time.

There were more than 1,900 new postings last month. Combined with the postings carried over from March, the total of postings appearing in April was 3,500. The number of employers posting jobs was up 5% to 1,400.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read their news release on the April 2024 employment numbers for Canada and Ontario.

Brantford area job market holds steady

Brantford area job market holds steady

March 2024 employment figures showed the Brantford-Brant and Norfolk labour markets are holding steady.

The Brantford-Brant jobless rate stood still for the third straight month at 4.9% in March, according to Statistics Canada’s estimates, based on its monthly survey of local households.

Meanwhile, Norfolk’s unemployment rate was estimated to be 4.6% in March, the first time in six months a figure has been released. Statistics Canada doesn’t release some figures when there isn’t enough data. March’s rate was almost identical to the 4.5% reported last September.

Population changes continue to be the No. 1 factor influencing the labour markets at the national and provincial level, but less so locally.

Canada’s unemployment rate jumped in March by 0.3% to 6.1% – the largest increase in months – though employment only fell by an estimated 2,200 across the country. Ontario’s jobless rate climbed to 6.7%, even though 26,000 more people were working.

Brantford 2024 employment figures showed that about 400 more people were working last month, continuing slow but steady employment growth since last summer. Employment has grown by an estimated 3,500 since August, but is almost identical to March 2023 when about 79,500 people were employed.

“These numbers don’t spark great excitement and, sure, we would have liked to see more job growth,” said Danette Dalton, the workforce planning board’s executive director.

“But the fact that we’ve held steady while the population has grown is a positive. Our labour market has been able to absorb population growth, replacing workers leaving the workforce with new people.”

Dalton added that in many other communities, including most of those surrounding Brantford-Brant and Norfolk, employment gains have lagged behind population growth.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read their news release on the March 2024 employment numbers for Canada and Ontario.

Brantford area job market stands out

Brantford area job market stands out

February 2024 employment numbers show the Brantford area labour market continues to be a bit of an anomaly compared to some of its neighbours, as well as Ontario and Canada.

To begin with, the Brantford-Brant jobless rate was unchanged in February, at 4.9%, while it increased in Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, London, Ontario and Canada, according to Statistics Canada’s seasonally adjusted figures released Friday.

Canada’s jobless rate inched up to 5.8%, despite 41,000 job gains, while Ontario’s climbed to 6.5%.

Within a one-hour commute, only Guelph had a lower February unemployment rate than Brantford. And only Brantford has seen a jobless rate below 5% for 6 months straight.

“It’s tricky comparing the labour markets of communities, since each have some unique characteristics, types of employers and workers,” said Danette Dalton, the Planning Board’s executive director. “Still, it’s a strength that Brantford has been able to buck some trends for months.”

A second anomaly in Brantford’s labour market over the last six months has been the relationship between population growth and employment growth, Dalton said.

The main storyline regarding the labour force for months nationally and provincially has been that population growth has outpaced employment growth. Since August, Canada’s working age population (those who are 15+ in age) has swelled by 527,000, while employment has grown by 183,000.

Ontario’s working age population has grown by 236,000 since August, but employment is only up 4,400, according to Statistics Canada’s February 2024 employment numbers.

Among neighbouring labour markets, only Brantford and Guelph have had employment gains above their population growth. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo job gains match population growth, but Hamilton, London and St. Catharines-Niagara have lagged behind.

 “It’s a positive that Brantford’s employment gains have surged. Hopefully, that trend continues, and job seekers and employers gain greater confidence in the local economy,” Dalton said.

About 1,400 employers in Grand Erie were looking to hire in February, up 17% from January, according to Grand Erie Jobs, the planning board’s community online job board. However, actual postings were down slightly to 1,900.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read their news release on the February 2024 employment numbers for Canada and Ontario.

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