Local jobless rate up to 7%
Brantford-Brant’s unemployment rate in November rose to seven per cent, while Canada’s rate dropped to 5.6 per cent — its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data more than 40 years ago.
The Ontario rate last month also was 5.6 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The local jobless rate was 6.2 per cent in October.
The reason for the increase in unclear, said Jill Halyk, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.
“We’ve looked at key industries and they seem to be stable,” Halyk said Friday.
“The volatility seems to be in retail, wholesale and arts and culture – things that can be seasonal. So, we think the issue seems to be associated with the tourism sector.”
She said she also suspects there is business doubts resulting from political uncertainty.
Still, local job numbers remain strong, said Halyk, noting that her office hears almost daily about how employers can’t seem to get enough applicants for job openings.
She said the unemployment rate isn’t the only economic measurement that counts.
About 1,400 people joined the local labour force in November, which can push up the percentage of people unemployed, she noted. Only about half of those 1,400 people found work.
In November, Canada added 94,000 jobs, most of them full time, which played a major role in bringing down the country’s unemployment rate. Ontario added 20,000 jobs.
In Brantford-Brant, the unemployment rate has fluctuated over the last four years, moving between 4.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent.
Halyk said the rise and fall occur with the seasons.
And the local economy is diversified enough to handle fluctuations, she said, adding that manufacturing, transportation and warehousing are stable.
“The backbone of our economy is small and medium-sized businesses.”
The Workforce Planning Board is one of 26 non-profit agencies in Ontario, funded by the government to help lead and report on labour force planning.
Statistics Canada’s report Friday also said that, compared to 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.2 per cent following a net increase of 218,800 jobs. The addition of 227,400 full-time positions offset a small decrease in part-time work.
The November jobs report showed the goods-producing sector added 26,900 jobs following a notable gain of 14,800 construction positions. The services sector generated 67,200 jobs last month with help from the addition of 26,000 positions in professional, scientific and technical services.
By region, employment rose in six provinces and was led by gains in Quebec and Alberta.
Jill Halyk is executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.