News

Norfolk jobless rate 4.7%

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

Looking for work? You're in luck.

Just take a drive along the Queensway and you'll see a number of area businesses have openings.

Surprisingly though, Norfolk's unemployment rate registered at 4.7 per cent for October. While those numbers are only an estimate through a small sample size, they're in line with the rates across Ontario.

“A couple of things are happening,” said Jill Halyk, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. “The number of people working or looking for work has been sort of stagnant in the area for quite a long time and it is right across Ontario, in fact in some areas it's declining.”

Also, more jobs across the province – including almost 5,000 added in the Brantford area in recent months – has diminished the talent pool.

“Then there's competition between sectors, so as there are more full-time jobs and permanent part-time jobs, people are looking for those better opportunities - they're willing to move for higher wages,” Halyk said. “There is some turnover and some churn in the labour market as well because of an improved economy.”

The national jobless rate was 6.3 per cent and Ontario rate was 6.3 per cent in October, according to figures released by Statistics Canada Friday.

The Planning Board is working on a number of projects right now. Time after time – especially when it comes to the welding and manufacturing sector – employers aren't getting enough applicants to fill their positions.

“When the economy improves a little bit it encourages people who maybe dropped out to kind of dip their toe back in the water and start to get a little bit more optimistic about finding things,” Halyk said. “One of the things people struggle with is knowing where their skills fit – what have they done in the past or if they're a newer graduate out of high school, what is it that they can take into the workplace and where does it fit? That can be tough to figure out.”

Halyk suggests those folks within Norfolk consider working with Fanshawe's Community Career and Employment Services in Simcoe to help narrow their search.

“I think people have stopped applying for jobs directly and they think that there's nothing there,” she said. “I would encourage them to start taking advantage of those road signs, making sure they're getting their resumes in but also researching what they want to do and apply for companies that they think they're interested in because most of those companies are hiring.”

As it relates to welding manufacturers, they've recognized the current workforce is less skilled than recent years and are willing to provide in-house training to get employees up to speed.

“Sometimes they prefer it that way because they're not correcting someone's training – they're teaching what they need on the job at their facilities so sometimes that's an attractive aspect for them,” Halyk points out.

The good news for job seekers is that the current trend of opportunities doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.

“I know that there are still people who are struggling to get work in their field of study but right now the demand is there,” Halyk said.

“We're seeing continued employment growth and I don't think that's going to disappear anytime too soon.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com