In October, the unemployment rate for the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula Economic Region, which includes the Municipality of Meaford, decreased by 1.5 percentage points to 6.4%, occupying the lowest rate in the province and continuing on a downward trend since the pandemic increased rate. At the same time, the provincial unemployment rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 9.9%. All rates are unadjusted for seasonality.
Overall net employment in the region increased by 3,900 with full-time losses (-400) off-set by part-time gains (+4,200).
The number of Goods-producing sector employees increased by 2,900, with the greatest increases in Construction (+1,900) and Agriculture (+800).
Employment in the Services-producing sector increased by 1,000. The greatest increases were in Wholesale and retail trade (+1,800) and Other services (except public administration) (+1,000). These gains were partly off-set by smaller losses in Accommodation and food services (-600) and Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-500).
Statistics Canada has recently updated the underutilization rates for each economic region. This rate offers a more complete picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market because it includes those who were unemployed, those who were not in the labour force but wanted a job and did not look for one, and those who remained employed but lost all or the majority of their usual work hours. The most current (September 2020) underutilization rate for Stratford-Bruce Peninsula is 12.1% which remains higher than this rate in September 2019 (10.1%).
“While we want to be cautious about using these data to indicate complete economic recovery, a low underutilization rate, compared to over 37% in April 2020, does suggest that conditions in the local labour market are improving as more people have returned to work,” says Gemma Mendez-Smith, Executive Director of the Planning Board. “We will continue to track these data as they become available, so we can monitor the broad impact of COVID-19 on our local workforce.”
The Planning Board is continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the local labour market so we need your help. If you live in Bruce, Grey, Huron or Perth, please take a few minutes to fill out this confidential and anonymous survey concerning your experiences with employment, precarious work, financial demands and physical/mental health challenges resulting from the pandemic: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FCLMPBCOVIDIMPACT