Windsor Adds Jobs as National Unemployment Rate Rises

Friday, April 5, 2013

Source: Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

While most of Canada saw unemployment numbers bump up in March, Windsor held its own with the jobless rate dropping last month compared to February.

Locally, the jobless rate fell to nine per cent, its lowest level since last September, from 9.2 per cent in February. It is now the fourth highest in Canada behind Peterborough at 10.2 per cent, London at 9.6 per cent and Saint John at 9.1 per cent.

Across Canada, the economy shed an unexpected 55,000 jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate up to 7.2 per cent from seven, while Windsor added 500 jobs in March.

“It’s good news because not only did the unemployment rate fall but the labour force numbers are up as well,” said Tanya Antoniw, director of project management for Workforce WindsorEssex. “In the past, when the labour force figure fell it impacted the jobless rate, but more people are now entering the job market and we’d like to think it’s because they are hopeful of finding employment.”

According to StatsCan, there are 150,900 employed people in the region, which is up 500 from last month , and 14,900 unemployed, which is down 300 from a month ago.

Antoniw said that Windsor’s population has grown by 1,300 in the past year, which suggests people are returning to the region in the hopes of finding work.

Windsor’s diversification efforts, especially in the area of high-tech jobs, seem to be paying off, she said. “We may have lost a great many manufacturing jobs in recent years, but we didn’t lose the expertise and it’s that expertise we are trying to build on.”

According to Statistics Canada, Windsor’s unemployment rate has dropped by 1.4 percentage points in the past 12 months.

It’s the fifth largest jobless rate decrease in Canada over the past year, trailing Abbotsford-Mission at 3.1 per cent and Barrie, Saskatoon and Kelowna, all at 1.9.

Canada’s private employment sector shed 85,400 jobs in March and the only gain was in the self-employment sector which gained 39,000 jobs, an indication that many could not find permanent work and created their own employment opportunities.

“It doesn’t get much uglier than this,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter wrote in a commentary. “The Canadian soft patch continues and it broadens.

“Prior to today, there had been sufficient disconnect in Canada between sluggish GDP growth and surprisingly perky employment gains. Suffice it to say, GDP won, and the jobs have lost their perk in the short space of a month.”

By industry, the largest job losses were in manufacturing which shed 24,200 workers across Canada. The accommodation and food services industry lost 24,900 jobs, public administration 24,300 and construction almost 10,000.

Construction employment is one area which has grown in the Windsor region because of government and institutional work, including the Herb Gray Parkway and projects connected to the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.

Other Ontario jobless rates in March: Oshawa 8.6 per cent; Toronto 8.4; St. Catharines-Niagara, 7.9; Sudbury 7.8; Brantford 7.7; Barrie 7.3; Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 7.2; Thunder Bay and Kingston 6.3; Ottawa and Hamilton 6.1; and Guelph, six.

The lowest rate among the 33 cities surveyed was recorded in Regina at 3.5 per cent.