Regional unemployment rate increases slightly in December

WALKERTON – In December, the unemployment rate for the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula Economic Region increased by a 0.2 percentage point to three per cent. At the same time, the provincial unemployment rate decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 5.8 per cent, both unadjusted for seasonality.

The annual adjusted unemployment rate for 2021 was 4.2 per cent, 3.1 percentage points lower than that for 2020, which was 7.3 per cent. The 2021 annual rate is comparable to pre-pandemic levels which was 4.4 per cent in 2019.

Overall net employment in the region decreased by 3,000, with full-time losses (-4,100) and part-time gains (1,000). This full-time loss was the largest in 2021. The number of goods-producing sector employees decreased by net 700. The main driving force came from losses in utilities (-500) and agriculture (-400).

Employment in the services-producing sector also decreased by net 2,300. The most losses came from wholesale and retail trade (-2,000) and transportation and warehousing (-1,500). Though accommodation and food services experienced increases in employment (+1,100), it could not offset the losses, which resulted in net losses of 2,300.

“With a chronically-low unemployment rate and a shrinking labour pool (-2,800), expanding our workforce to fill job vacancies and meet employers’ worker needs continues to be a top priority,” said Gemma Mendez-Smith, executive director of the Four County Labour Market Planning Board. “Even with the positive gains in accommodation and food services, with each lockdown and new virus strain, the services-producing sector continue to be the hardest hit throughout the pandemic.”