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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