October 2020’s job numbers showed that Brantford’s job market continues to bounce back from the worst impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city’s unemployment rate has fallen for four straight months since hitting a peak of 12.6% in June. The jobless rate was estimated at 7.2% in October, down from 8.1% in September, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Brantford’s job picture continues to look rosier than in surrounding communities and in Ontario and Canada as a whole.

St. Catharines-Niagara rate of 7.5% is the closest to Brantford’s, while the highest is Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo’s 10.8%. Canada’s national unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged at 8.9% in October, while Ontario’s monthly rate was 9.6%, with only modest job gains.

“The Brantford area job market continues to be on the right track and gain jobs,” said Danette Dalton, Workforce Planning Board executive director.

“However, there are still an estimated 5,900 residents who are unemployed here, which is more than double the number from October 2019. There are still many residents who need help, who need jobs.”

The recent trend has shown women leading job gains in Brantford for months. But women aged 55+ have actually lost ground compared to June, the month where the pandemic’s impact was most evident.

The Workforce Planning Board’s Grand Erie Jobs portal showed there were about 700 Brantford jobs advertised in October, the large majority full-time, permanent positions. Top jobs posted were material handler, retail salesperson, customer service representative and home support worker.

To help meet the ongoing need for material handlers, the board’s Skills2Advance program is offering eligible job seekers free job training to work in warehousing-manufacturing.

Dalton said the board is currently conducting a survey of residents – both those working and not working – about their transportation and transit needs. “We wish to learn if public transit options support the needs of people living and working in Brantford and Grand Erie.”

Read Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey news release for October 2020.

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