Local employment rate among the highest

Local employment rate among the highest

February 2023 employment numbers show that Brantford’s jobless rate fell for the firsst time in six months.

The Brantford-Brant unemployment rate last month was 5.8%, a one percentage drop from January’s 6.8%, according to Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey of area residents.

Job gains slowed in Ontario and for Canada as a whole in February. Canada’s jobless rate was unchanged at 5%, while Ontario nudged down to 5.1%.

Brantford’s jobless rate decreased largely due to fewer people being unemployed. Some of those people found jobs, while a greater share appears to have left the labour market.

“You don’t want to see people leave the labour market, especially at a time when some employers have shortages, but our overall level of employment remains impressive,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director.

“Brantford has the second highest employment rate among nearby communities, only behind Guelph.”

Dalton said looking at the employment rate – the percentage of residents 15 years and older who are working – can give a fuller picture of the health of any community’s labour market.

For example, St. Catharines-Niagara’s jobless rate in February was 4.3% but its employment rate was 58.4%. By comparison, Brantford’s jobless rate looks worse at 5.8%, but the percentage of people employed is far better at 65.9%, she said.

Dalton added that Brantford’s February 2023 employment rate looks even more impressive when it comes to people in the core working ages of 24 to 54. Brantford’s employment rate for this age group is 89.3%, which is higher than nearby communities – and the second highest in Ontario.

“That’s a new high for this area according to Statistics Canada figures dating back to 2006,” she said.

There were about 2,500 new job postings in February across the region on the Grand Erie Jobs online job board. The largest number of postings continues to be in health care and social assistance, while postings in manufacturing and construction increased. The number of retail positions continues to slide, which is not unusual to see in the post-Christmas season.

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

January saw recent job gains retreat locally

January saw recent job gains retreat locally

January 2023 employment numbers showed that job gains have stalled in the Brantford area job market, with the jobless rate continuing its recent climb.

Brantford-Brant’s unemployment rate increased to a six-month high in January, reaching 6.8%, up from December’s 6.4%, according to Statistics Canada estimates based on its monthly labour force survey of residents.

Ontario’s jobless rate dipped to 5.2% in January as the provincial economy added 63,000 jobs. Across Canada, the unemployment rate held steady, even though employment grew by 150,000.

Brantford’s labour market retreated in January after recording several months of gains in key categories. After reaching a two-year high to close out 2022, the size of the labour force shrunk in January and employment fell modestly.

“We’ve seen some very strong numbers in recent months for both total employment and more residents participating in the labour force. This has helped ease concerns over the jobless rate,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “Now, unfortunately, we’ve seen some of those gains erode.”

Brantford employment rate still strong

Brantford and Hamilton were the only neighbouring communities where the unemployment rate increased in January. However, despite that, Brantford’s January 2023 employment rate of 65.7% still beats all its neighbours.

“There’s still some positives in the numbers,” Dalton said. “The unemployment rate only tells part of the story.”

After dipping in recent months, the number of jobs on the Grand Erie Jobs job board rebounded in January with 2,900 new postings across the region, which includes Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit, as well as Brantford and Brant.

Postings were led by jobs in health care and social assistance, including ones for nurses, PSWs and social workers. There were more than 700 positions in the sector in January, the highest level since the Workforce Planning Board launched Grand Erie Jobs in 2020.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on January 2023 employment in Canada and Ontario.

More residents active in area labour force

More residents active in area labour force

December 2022 employment numbers saw Brantford-Brant’s labour force swell in size, resulting in a higher jobless rate when not everyone was able to find jobs.

The Brantford area’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.8% last month, up from November’s 5.2%, based on estimates from Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey. Norfolk County’s unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in December, higher than recent months but below that of one year ago.

Across Canada, December 2022 employment grew by 104,000, dropping the national jobless rate to an even 5%. Ontario gained 43,000 jobs and the provincial monthly rate fell to 5.3%.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie says concern over the Brantford area’s higher unemployment is eased by a growth in the employment and participation rates.

Labour force participation

“The percentage of people participating in the local labour force is at a 2 1/2 -year high, which is healthy to see,” said Executive Director Danette Dalton. “And the local employment rate remains strong, just off the 3-year high we saw a couple months ago.”

Brantford’s unemployment rate is similar to that of London and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, but higher than Hamilton and St. Catharines-Niagara.

However, Brantford has the highest labour force participation rate of surrounding communities, at 69.5%. Next closest is the Kitchener area’s 69%. Canada and Ontario both have a participation rate of 64.9%.

The Workforce Planning Board is urging local employers to complete its EmployerOne survey this month to help the community gain a fuller picture of the local labour market.

Survey link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/E12023

Hiring often slows down during December, something that is reflected in the latest numbers from Grand Erie Jobs. There were about 2,150 new job postings last month, down more than 500 from November.

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to read its news release on December 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.

 

 

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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