Summer hiring: Southwestern Ontario a tale of two cities
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
London Free Press/JONATHAN JUHA & MAX MARTIN
Talk about a tale of two cities, both in Southwestern Ontario.
A private hiring forecaster projects only one in 10 employers in London expects to hire this summer, but in border-city Windsor just a few hours away the expectation is that 27 per cent plan to add staff in the third quarter of 2019.
The wide discrepancy between two of the largest cities in Ontario west of Toronto comes in the latest national outlook by the ManpowerGroup, underlining how, in what some consider a slowing national economy, conditions can vary widely within the same region.
After a strong showing in 2018 that saw London match its all-time low unemployment rate, its labour market has been in a bit of a retreat this year.
May, for instance, was the fourth straight month in which the London area’s labour force shrunk, according to the latest numbers by Statistics Canada. The region has lost more than 7,000 jobs during the last few months, with its total number of people working now about 242,000.
“The growth over the next quarter looks like it will be very moderate,” Charity Magowan of ManpowerGroup, said of the London outlook.
“It’ll certainly be a little bit more stagnant than what we were seeing (in 2018).”
By contrast, Windsor, with nearly one in three employers in ManpowerGroup’s survey reporting third-quarter hiring intentions, is running both ahead of London and the national average of 19 per cent of employers planning summer hiring.
London also is lagging the Waterloo area, to the east, where the rate was 17 per cent.
“It’s kind of been growth across the board,” said Justin Falconer, senior director of Workforce WindsorEssex, adding many different sectors in Windsor and Essex County are hiring.
The London area, which includes St. Thomas and Strathroy-Caradoc and portions of Elgin and Middlesex counties, has run one of the highest rates in big-city Canada of working-age adults no longer looking for work.
Windsor’s labour pool, on the other hand, has been expanding, Falconer said, which is good for employers in hiring mode.
“We’ve seen 300 to 500 people per month move to the (Windsor-Essex) area from out of the region,” he said Monday.
Falconer said construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge has brought an increase in jobs. Demand for customer service and retail positions also is rising.
More than 1,900 employers nationwide, in both the private and public sectors, were surveyed by ManpowerGroup for its latest report on hiring plans.
In the London area, employers most likely to hire between July and September are in public administration, manufacturing and construction, the forecast found.
Smaller companies, those with fewer than 50 employees, are less likely to hire during the next three months.
According to Statistics Canada’s monthly labour surveys, the Windsor area created 10,600 more jobs between October 2018 and May 2019, the latest month for which figures are available.
The largest increase has come in a broad category that includes finance, insurance, real estate and rentals and leasing, employment in which has doubled since last October, adding 5,200 jobs. Falconer attributes that spike to the area’s growing housing market.
Transportation and warehousing in the region gained 5,000 jobs during the same period.
Combined, the services sector has added 13,500 jobs since last October. By comparison, the services sector in London shed 8,100 jobs during the same period.
The London-area jobs pullback was to be expected after a solid 2018 in job creation, said Alan Arcand, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada.
“Job growth was quite strong last year . . . the second-strongest gain London had seen in 14 years, so it’s not unusual to see a bit of a pullback on the following year, so that’s what we are seeing,” he said.
Arcand also said London’s job growth rate is in line with a moderately growing economy, adding other key economic indicators, such as construction and the housing market, remain strong in the region.
Job growth “is not going to be strong, but it’s going to go in the right direction,” he said