January 2021 jobs numbers show that Brantford’s jobless rate climbed for the first time since summer 2020, as Ontario locked down in response to the pandemic’s second wave.

The January unemployment rate for Brantford was 6.9%, up slightly from December’s 6.7%, according to the Statistics Canada survey of local households conducted during mid January. Norfolk’s January unemployment rate, which is based on a small sample size, was 8.9%.

Ontario locked down non-essential businesses Dec. 26.

Ontario’s jobless rate climbed in January more than half a percentage point to 10.2%, due largely to an estimated 153,000 part-time job losses, mostly in retail. Canada shed an estimated 213,000 jobs, pushing up the national unemployment rate to 9.4%.

In Brantford, employment fell by an estimated 1,300, with sales and service occupations taking the brunt of the losses, says the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. The January 2021 jobs statistics show there were modest gains in manufacturing and transport related occupations.

“The closure of many retail stores has prompted layoffs in this hard-hit sector, where many women work part time,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “Hopefully, we can get the pandemic under control and the layoffs are short lived.”

Dalton said other service-related jobs don’t appear to be impacted as much as retail, perhaps because some businesses have adjusted or adapted their operations since last year’s first lockdown.

The Workforce Planning Board’s job search site Grand Erie Jobs currently shows retail jobs among its 900+ postings, but these are in stores that have been allowed to stay open, such as pet and dollar stores.

Dalton said businesses impacted by the lockdown may be eligible for government financial supports, or may be able to learn some best practices from industry associations or other companies.

The Workforce Planning Board is hosting a series of live webinars in February and March in association with Service Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

Register Here. 

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

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