Local population, job growth ideal for luring new business, says WEEDC

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell




Continued growth of the Windsor Census Metropolitan Area’s population and labour force are creating ideal conditions companies look for in locating new plants or expanding existing operations, says Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation CEO Stephen MacKenzie.

Statistics Canada’s latest monthly labour survey released Friday revealed that 2,000 more people found work locally in March, while the population grew by 400 residents.

“The migration of people here, knowing the economy is strong, and expanding the labour force are what potential companies look at in a region when they’re thinking of locating there,” MacKenzie said.

“They want to know there are people to hire, that more people are moving here because of opportunities. These are positives for the region.”

There are 174,200 people employed and 293,200 residents living in the Windsor CMA, an area that encompasses the city and LaSalle, Tecumseh, Lakeshore and Amherstburg.

Local officials were also encouraged by the labour participation rate increasing .8 per cent to 62.9 — a 2.7 per cent increase in a year.

“The growth of the labour force is evidence those moving here aren’t just retirees,” MacKenzie said. “It shows employers there’s room to grow.”

The local unemployment rate rose .3 per cent to 5.5 as 700 more people joined the search for work. A total of 10,200 people were unemployed last month.

Windsor beat the provincial and national employment figures, with Ontario’s unemployment rate rising to 5.9 per cent and Canada’s jobless rate unchanged at 5.8.

“It’s no surprise to us based on the number of people we’ve helped find jobs,” said June Muir, CEO of the Unemployed Help Centre.

“We still have lots of openings and lots of people looking for work. More people are looking for work in the area because they think they can find a job.”

Muir said in the centre’s most recent fiscal year, ending March 31, it assisted 1,786 among 2,705 clients find employment. Forty five per cent of those clients who found jobs were youths (aged 29 and under).

The average wage for those jobs was $16.

Manufacturing, construction, business administration, agricultural and tourism are driving the employment growth locally.

“There’s been a big increase in business and finance with it being tax season as well,” said Tashlyn Teskey, project coordinator and lead researcher for Workforce Windsor.

“Construction, with the bridge being a big factor, is a job creator right now. The seasonal construction industry is getting going.

“The cannabis industry is also hiring,” said Teskey. “It’s not just greenhouse workers, it’s science and quality-control skills they really need in a new industry.”

Despite the sizeable numbers being hired, Workforce WindsorEssex still had over 2,800 unfilled positions listed for March. Eighty-six per cent of those positions were full-time and 92 per cent were for permanent jobs.

The Top 5 companies seeking employees were engineering firm Fluor Corp (42), Windsor Regional Hospital (38), Lowe’s (32), Walmart (30) and Hub International (29).

The sectors most in need of workers last month were transportation, retail sales/supervisor, agriculture, customer and information services and industrial manufacturing/engineering.

Teskey, Muir and MacKenzie all agree it’s too soon to see any chilling impact on hiring or expansion plans resulting from last week’s announcement that FCA Canada was eliminating 1,500 jobs on the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant.

“I think we’ll continue to see population growth,” Teskey said.

“The growth is being driven by a couple of factors — the lower cost of living, especially for those coming from the GTA, and the number of newcomers from other provinces and areas who continue to come.”