Jobs Report – Jan 2013

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.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.


3 Responses to “Jobs Report – Jan 2013”
  1. Robert Viera says:

    You might want to check your math.

    111,200 is 2,700 more than 108,500, not 3,500 more.

    I looked at the StatsCan data, specifically CANSIM table 282-0116, and found that the pre-recession high for employment in Barrie of 108,500 came in March of 2007, not December.

    Before anyone gets too excited, we must remember that the population of the Barrie metropolitan area was 149,700 in March 2007. It’s 164,000 now.

    Lest anyone think that we’re better off now than we were in March of 2007, the unemployment rate then was 4.3%.

    • jefflehman says:

      Hi Robert – many thanks for this. You are right on both – should have read “more than 2,500” not “more than 3,500”, and yes December was a typo it should have read March. And I think I’ve noted, every single time I talk about job numbers, that the unemployment rate remains too high (as I did above). Thanks for the fact-check and I’ve changed the offending numbers.

      All that notwithstanding, the fact remains (which I did not include) that employment in the Barrie CMA bottomed out at 91,400 jobs in June 2009 (I hope I’ve got that right)! Since then employment has increased by 19,800. That’s a lot of jobs in three and a half years, however you cut it. I didn’t choose to do that math, however, because I think picking off a really low number to create a really impressive sounding one is the sort of monkey math that happens a little too often when stats get “spun”.

      The more relevent numbers are to compare average ANNUAL employment. I’ll post more on this later. Those numbers are less subject to monthly swings that are over-dramatic.

      Anyway, thanks for holding my feet to the fire.

      • Robert Viera says:

        Thanks for taking the time to respond, Jeff.

        When I saw that error, knowing that you’re a math guy, I couldn’t resist pointing it out.

        Thanks also for the email you sent previously. Unfortunately, I don’t check that email address often enough, so please accept my apology for not responding.

        Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the transit improvements this year.

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