Employment and unemployment up

Employment and unemployment up

October 2022 employment and unemployment increased in unison in the Brantford-Brant area.

The area’s employment rate grew to a new three-year high of 66% in October, up from 65.1% the previous month, while the jobless rate increased by a smaller amount to 4.8%, according to Statistics Canada estimates based on its monthly survey of households.

Canada’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 5.2%, even though an estimated 108,000 more people were working in full-time jobs. Employment grew in Ontario by 43,000 jobs in October, mainly in part-time work and mainly in Toronto.

“Additional people joining the workforce can soften the impact of the labour shortage that is being experienced by many Brantford area businesses,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “We know from our conversations with employers that the labour shortage is at top of mind.”

October 2022 employment growth continued the gains seen over the last six months. Employment has grown by about 5,000, while the number of unemployed people only increased by a few hundred, meaning most people entering or re-entering the labour force did find jobs.

Dalton said the Grand Erie Aspire Job Fair, taking place Nov. 15 to 17 in Brantford, Norfolk County and Brant County, has seen strong interest from employers, with more than 100 registered so far.

There were almost 3,000 new postings in October on Grand Erie Jobs, the region’s largest job board, as well as hundreds of positions posted in September that were still active.

Job seekers will soon be able to set up free accounts and customize their use of Grand Erie Jobs to aid their search, Dalton said. People will have the ability to follow specific occupations and local companies, match their skills to job openings, and create a resume.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on October 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Brantford-Brant sees employment gains

Brantford-Brant sees employment gains

September 2022 employment grew, while the unemployment rate also inched up.

Brantford-Brant’s September jobless rate inched up to 4.1%, from 3.8% in August, according to Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey. The employment rate climbed at the same time by half a percentage to 65.1 – a 3-year high.

Norfolk’s unemployment rate was estimated at 6% last month, a dramatic improvement compared to September 2021 when it was 9.4%. The employment rate also improved over the same 12 months, landing at 52.2%, though other numbers were little changed.

Canada’s jobless rate dipped slightly to 5.2% after the economy gained about 21,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Ontario saw about 32,000 jobs lost, though the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 5.8%.

“We’ve seen consistent, positive employment growth over the last year in the Brantford-Brant area, with an estimated 5,000 more people working since last September,” said Danette Dalton of the Workforce Planning Board.

“Last month’s employment rate of 65.1% was the highest in 3 years, so we have made a lot of progress that has attracted more people to the labour market. But there’s more room to grow.”

The overall size of the labour force and the percentage of the adult population participating in the labour force have also continued their upwards trend.

Over the last 6 months, there have been about 3,100 more people working in trades, transportation and equipment operator occupations and 2,600 more in sales and service positions. Most of the gains over the last few months have been in full-time work, while part-time employment is up slightly.

Despite the growth, Dalton said a continuing storyline locally and across Canada is the labour shortage, with many businesses unable to fill positions.

There were about 3,800 new postings last month on the Grand Erie Jobs job board operated by the Workforce Planning Board.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on September 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Ontario Agriculture Week – Spotlight on Grand Erie

Ontario Agriculture Week – Spotlight on Grand Erie

It’s Ontario Agriculture Week from October 3rd to the 9th and there is plenty to celebrate about this important sector! The week is a time to showcase all the amazing things happening in the industry and our connection to where our food comes from – so let’s raise a fork to the food we love and the people who produce it! 

The agriculture and agri-food sector is a major contributor to the Canadian economy comprised of primary agriculture (farmers) and food and beverage processing, and also includes foodservice providers, as well as food retailers and wholesalers who are the link between food production and consumers. 

In 2021, the whole agriculture and agri-food system employed 2.1 million people, provided 1 in 9 jobs in Canada, and generated $134.9 billion (around 6.8%) of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). Of that, primary agriculture carried out by farmers and which is defined as work performed within the boundaries of a farm, nursery or greenhouse, accounted for 241,500 jobs in Canada and $31.9 billion in GDP across 189,874 farms. 

Agriculture in the Grand Erie region…

There are 3564 agri-food businesses in Grand Erie region. Agriculture, combined with forestry, fishing and hunting, is the 2nd biggest industry in the Grand Erie region.

Grand Erie top 3 Agriculture subsectors are as follows:

  1. Crop production – 1844 businesses
  2. Animal production and aquaculture – 599 businesses
  3. Food service and drinking places – 502 businesses

The 2021 Census showed there were 3735 farm operators (down from 4,030 in 2016) in the Grand Erie region operating 2620 farms (down from 2860 in 2016). Around 40% of farms are under 70 acres, 47% are between 70 and 399 acres, 8% are between 400 and 759 acres and 6% are over 760 acres. Based on 894 farms that reported on number of employees, a total of 10,727 individuals were employed including temporary foreign workers.

Largely comprised of rural communities, the Grand Erie region has a diverse agricultural industry and its farms make up 5.42% of all farms across Ontario. Primary agriculture which relates directly to farming, includes crops, livestock, greenhouses and nurseries, as well as, farmer’s markets, farm equipment repair shops, wine and cider production, grain drying operations and livestock auctions is abundant in the Grand Erie region.

While the number of smaller farms shrunk between 2016 and 202, Grand Erie gained 7 large farms (2240 acres and higher) indicating that operations are merging in response to the shrinking number of farm operators.

Farms by industry group in Grand Erie:

  • Oilseed and grain – 1175 farms
  • Beef and cattle ranching and farming – 189 farms
  • Vegetable and melon farming – 188 farms
  • Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture – 143 farms
  • Poultry and egg production – 113 farms
  • Dairy cattle and milk production – 105 farms

In 2021, Grand Erie grew over 6 million kgs of fruit, 34 million kgs of vegetables, 15 kgs of grain, and 30 million kgs of livestock products. Top fruits include apples, strawberries and pears. Top vegetables are potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onion and lettuce. Chicken, beef, eggs and dairy are top livestock products. 

County of Brant: 77% of lands in the County of Brant are considered to be prime agricultural lands. Additionally, the County of Brant is home to various businesses with on-farm diversified uses such as bakeries, seasonal tourism events related to the agricultural area (petting zoo, corn maze, ziplining, wine tasting etc.), and educational & commercial activities directly related to local farming.

Brantford: Aside from deep roots in agricultural equipment manufacturing, local farm fresh stores are popular in Brantford and operations such as Brantwood Farms have adapted to receive customers year round at their farm shops and special events.

Haldimand County: Agriculture has a long history in Haldimand County. Family farms have been a staple to the local economy for generations, specializing in crop production, animal production and aquaculture. Haldimand County invites people to visit their farmers markets to learn how important agriculture is to the local economy and appreciate networks of local food producers.

Norfolk County: Norfolk County promotes itself as Ontario’s Garden and according to the 2016 census, there were 1,860 farm operators working 1,307 farms in Norfolk County, with total land in crops of 196,403 acres. Norfolk County farmers are Canada’s leading growers of asparagus, cabbage, tart cherries, ginseng, peppers, pumpkins, rye, squash and zucchini, strawberries, and other vegetables. Livestock makes up an important part of Norfolk County agriculture which include pigs, cattle and calves, goats, sheep and lambs and honeybee colonies. Employing the highest number of employees on its farms (7,619), Norfolk County farmers received more than $519 million in total gross farm revenue in the year prior to the 2016 census.

Six Nations of the Grand River: Corn, beans and squash are called “The Three Sisters” in Indigenous farming and were traditionally inter-planted because they thrive together – as well as providing balanced nutrition. To create community awareness surrounding Indigenous agriculture, Six Nations recently launched their “Revitalizing Our Sustenance Project” in May of 2020 during the beginning summer months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agri-tourism has been a growing industry across the Grand Erie region – from farm crawls to guided tours of micro-breweries, farmers markets and farm to table experiences, companies such as Ride the Bine, Red Apple Tours provide visitors and locals with tailored experiences at local agri-businesses.

Future outlook of Agriculture in Grand Erie…

According to StatCan’s Census of Agriculture data – of the 4, 030 farm operators in Grand Erie, about 55 % are 55 years or older, compared to 49% in 2011. 1,435 are between the age of 35-54 and only 375 were under the age of 35. With many agricultural workers opting to retire early, shortages of workers, including migrant workers, are creating a high demand for skilled equipment operators to support the local industry and it is increasingly important to consider how and by whom these newly vacant positions will be filled.

With the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie as one of its several partners, Conestoga College recently developed a 16 week Agricultural Equipment Operator Program. Completion of the program positions graduates to successfully enter a wide variety of agricultural operations.

Other local agricultural training institutions include the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) of the University of Guelph. At its Ridgetown Campus, obtaining an Associate Diploma in Agriculture provides individuals with the training to manage a farm, work for a global agribusiness, finance agricultural innovation, advance new crop and livestock genetics, or work in advancing agriculture technology.

Fanshawe College offers an Agri-Business Management Program at its Simcoe campus, which equips graduates with understanding business fundamentals and industry specific training in agricultural production. Students gain knowledge in how to manage each step of the supply chain from farm to table and everything in between, with new technological advances and sustainable practices.



October is Manufacturing Month

October is Manufacturing Month

October is Manufacturing Month, celebrating a key industry that provides thousands of jobs in the Grand Erie region.

About 1.7 million people work in manufacturing across Canada, over half of those jobs in Ontario – the country’s manufacturing heartland.

Manufacturing is the No. 1 employer in our area, with almost 800 businesses employing 15,800 people in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Local companies make an amazing array of products, some of which are household names and brands that people buy every day. Think bread, chocolates, chicken nuggets, frozen waffles, hockey sticks, air fresheners, house paint, barbecues, cat litter, drywall, windows, kitchen cabinets, LED lighting – to name a few.

Other products are for special uses or niches. Think truck trailers, forestry equipment, neon signs, cabinetry for grocery stores, playground equipment, vinyl siding, swimming pool liners.

Other products are used as a part of others. Think auto parts, steel, pharmaceutical products, recycled rubber, cement wall panels, building supplies, industrial pumps, plastic hoses.

October will be celebrated as Manufacturing Month in North America, with Oct. 1 marked as Manufacturing Day in many areas.

In the past, manufacturers have thrown open their doors to tours, giving students and other visitors a behind-the-scenes look at what they make and the types of jobs they hire for.

The October Manufacturing Month tours are a way for companies to showcase their products, people and jobs, and to dispel commonly held myths about what it is like to work in manufacturing.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie has previously organized tours of local manufacturers and has produced a dozen videos about careers at local companies (see the resource section below).

Today’s manufacturing is a lot different than 30 or 50 years ago.

The days of workers standing at a production line, doing mind-numbing repetitive tasks, in a loud, dirty factory are largely past.

Today, production is highly automated, with computers, robots and cutting-edge technology heavily used. Companies value innovation, looking for better ways of doing things and creating new products.

Advanced Manufacturing, which uses new technologies, is a rapidly growing part of the industry.

Manufacturing offers a large variety of jobs, covering dozens of occupations, types of work and skill levels, from entry level positions to the most senior and experienced.

And while men have traditionally made up the bulk of people working in production and skilled trades roles in manufacturing, more women are entering the industry.

TYPES OF JOBS: Jobs can range from machine operator to office staff, packagers, salespeople, welders, millwrights, material handlers, computer programmers, engineers, designers, researchers, chemists, quality control specialists, health and safety experts.

JOB SKILLS: Skills used in manufacturing jobs also vary. Among the skills highly valued by businesses are: problem solving, critical thinking, team work, good communication, attention to detail, customer service and people skills. Learning to work safely is also important. Each occupation may have its own set of technical skills, from operating CNC machines to blueprint reading, programming robots and repairing equipment. And like all businesses, companies need people who are reliable and show up for work on time.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Businesses hire people who haven’t finished high school up to PhDs, depending on the role. Many companies offer on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or send workers to specialized training. Many companies provide opportunities for their staff to upgrade their skills and may help pay for their courses.

OPPORTUNITIES: Many companies regularly hire to fill open positions. Some increase their hiring to meet a large order or to fill seasonal demands. Companies like to promote from within, providing opportunities for advancement to employees who demonstrate a strong work ethic, a desire to learn, and a commitment to the business. There may be further opportunities as some older workers retire.

Find Out More

We Make It Here: A dozen videos produced by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie that showcase local companies, the products they make and the people that make them.

Grand Erie Jobs: This online job board is the best source to find local manufacturing jobs, or to learn about specific manufacturing occupations or companies.

Local Training and Education

Skills2Advance Welding: Free job training program that prepares people to enter the welding trade in the Grand Erie region.

Conestoga College: College courses for manufacturing, including skilled trades and manufacturing management, plus continuing education courses.

Fanshawe College, Simcoe/Norfolk Regional Campus: College courses in welding and office administration, plus a number of continuing education courses.

Six Nations Polytechnic: Training for welders and machinists.

Mohawk College: College courses for manufacturing, including skilled trades, engineering and robotics training, plus continuing education courses.

More people rejoining area’s labour force

More people rejoining area’s labour force

August 2022 employment grew in Brantford-Brant, but the jobless rate still climbed after an influx of people searched for work.

The local unemployment rate climbed to 3.8% last month, up from 3.4% in July.

Meanwhile, Canada’s jobless rate jumped half a percentage point to 5.4% in August as employment fell by 40,000 overall. Ontario’s rate climbed to 5.7%, attributed to more people searching for work.

Based on its survey of Brantford-Brant residents, Statistics Canada estimated that an additional 1,700 people entered the labour market in August, with 1,300 finding jobs and 400 not. That pushed up the employment rate by a full percentage point to 64.6%, the highest in the last year.

“With many businesses experiencing labour shortages, this influx of workers is particularly good news,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“This will help take some pressure off businesses, but we know that the tight labour market will continue, with lots of competition for workers.”

Dalton said that some companies have increased wages, improved benefits and offered signing bonuses, but it isn’t clear if these actions have enticed people to rejoin the workforce.

The planning board has launched a new survey to better understand what job seekers and workers value most in a job. Wages, benefits, opportunity for promotion, the ability to use a person’s skills?

The Quality of Work survey will run over the next couple of month and local residents are encouraged to take 10 minutes to complete it: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QoW-BE

August saw 3,900 new jobs listed on Grand Erie Jobs, reversing the drop seen in July.

Typically, the most in-demand jobs are in the service industry, which is where the majority of employment growth in August came from, led by positions in wholesale and retail trade.

Statistics Canada’s local survey showed a large chunk of job growth was in full-time work. More men than women began working, with more job gains among men in the core working ages of 25 – 54.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on August 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

Area jobless rate hits 16-year record low

Area jobless rate hits 16-year record low

July 2022 employment numbers saw Brantford-Brant set a new record low jobless rate, further cementing the area as having one of the strongest labour markets in Ontario.

The Brantford area’s unemployment rate declined to 3.4% in July, down from June’s 3.9%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by Statistics Canada. In Ontario, only Guelph was lower at 3.2%.

Across Canada, employment was down 31,000, but the national jobless rate remained unchanged at a record low of 4.9%. Ontario recorded most of the employment losses with 27,000, causing the provincial unemployment rate to climb slightly to 5.3%.

Brantford’s 3.4% jobless rate is the lowest since comparable data started being collected in 2006. The number of local unemployed people in July was estimated at 2,700, also the lowest in 16 years.

“It’s fantastic to see so many local residents working and our area setting a new record low unemployment rate,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“Unfortunately, it also means that local businesses will continue to face challenges hiring staff, as the pool of available labour has shrunk.”

There were an estimated 76,700 people employed in Brantford-Brant in July, up more than 1,000 from June and the highest since November 2019.

The local labour market saw employment gains mainly in service-related jobs, with modest gains in most categories, led by educational services, wholesale and retail trade, and professional services. Manufacturing also saw some gains, while employment in construction continues to hold steady.

July 2022 employment gains were in full-time work, with part-time employment declining slightly.

Grand Erie Jobs, the community’s largest job board, saw about 3,100 new jobs posted in July, a significant drop from the number seen in each of the last three months. More than 72% of postings were for full-time work, with the majority of those considered permanent positions. Casual positions accounted for less than 6% of job postings.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on July 2022 employment in Canada and Ontario.

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