According to StatsCan, we blew the doors off in the January jobs report, again.
The local unemployment rate is down to 7.3% from 7.4%, below the Provincial rate of 7.7%, and among the lowest rates in Ontario (Toronto’s rate is 8.2% if you’re counting). Still too high, but getting much better.
The bigger news was the employment growth. The number of people with jobs in the Barrie CMA is now 111,200 – more than 2,500 jobs above the pre-recession high of 108,500 in March 2007. As a reminder, the Barrie CMA includes Innisfil and Springwater Twp.
We had suspected that although StatsCan corrects for seasonal factors, there could have been some temporary hiring that drove up the December numbers but this looks to be a more substantial trend. Too early to declare victory, because monthly numbers can swing a lot, but this continues a six-month trend of solid employment growth. All the more interesting when you consider that Canada as a whole actually lost jobs in January.
Now here’s the most interesting thing in the numbers. Barrie’s participation rate rose to 73.2% – the second highest among big cities in Canada, behind only Calgary. Participation rate is the proportion of the population that is in the workforce, and this speaks to Barrie’s reputation as having one of the youngest and most active populations in the country.