The Region’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 12.9% in July and August, but that number doesn’t truly reflect the area’s possible signs of recovery. From July to August of 2020, the labour force grew by 7,000 continuing the reversal of the downward trend from March to June. While there has been a slight uptick in the number of unemployed (up 900 people), the Region is seeing its participation rate return to pre-pandemic levels with 68% of the labour force participating.
Recent stats also show that there has been an increase overall in the number of businesses in Waterloo Region from December 2019 to June 2020. Construction and transportation and warehousing businesses saw significant staff reductions while accommodation and food services and retail businesses had some stabilization around business numbers but employee levels shifted both up and down with no emerging trend. Professional, scientific and technical services saw employee losses in its small and larger employers. Other industries saw gains in the first part of the year. Manufacturing and finance/insurance businesses saw employee growth and companies moving into the next larger size range. Information and cultural industries also saw more companies be established and a growth of employees, even in larger employers. Health care was one of the few industries that saw growth and stability in its employee numbers. In all, most companies across industries in the 10-49 employee range were affected.
“Waterloo Region overall has seen a lot of stabilization and potential growth across its industry mix in the first part of 2020. As we wait to see how the second half of the year has affected businesses’ employee ranges, we know that continued support will be needed to keep new companies open and to ensure that businesses can retain as many of their employees as possible,” says Charlene Hofbauer (photo), Executive Director of the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. “That employer range of 10-49 employees will potentially need more support as they appear to be more susceptible to the pandemic and their employee numbers tend to shift more than other employers with fewer or more employees.”
Looking at the August on-line job postings from findyourjob.ca , there were almost 6,000 job postings on-line across Waterloo Region. Positions in retail, transportation and warehousing, health care and food services came up in the Top 20 frequently. The employers who may have had to let go of their staff between December and June may be looking to re-grow their operations between now and the end of the year while others are seeing continued growth which is fueling their demand for people.
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