Despite the current COVID-19 lockdown, an Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation (AWIC) December Labour Force Survey for Sault Ste. Marie released on Jan. 8 shows that employment numbers have come back to pre-pandemic levels.
The survey also indicated that unemployment continues to fall while monthly job postings for December were higher than they were in 2019.
AWIC stated that Sault Ste. Marie’s unemployment rate in December 2020 was 5.4 per cent (compared to Canada at 8.5 per cent, Ontario 9.1 per cent).
That represents a steady improvement over the last three months, down from a high of 11.1 per cent in July.
In March, the unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent, climbing significantly due to COVID-19 precautions.
Sault Ste. Marie’s employment rate in November 2020 was 61.5 per cent (compared to Canada at 59.3 per cent, Ontario 58.9 per cent)
The employment rate rebounded from a low of 49.2 per cent in May 2020.
Online job postings in Sault Ste. Marie increased steadily since bottoming out in April, and, since June, have actually been higher than postings in 2019.
Interestingly, the job postings reflect a COVID economy, with security guards, PSWs and nurses topping the list of job postings in December and 2020 overall.
“The employment numbers continue to look positive for Sault Ste. Marie. Having said that, we need to keep in perspective that the Labour Force Survey numbers reflect December, and as of January, Sault Ste. Marie is continuing to be locked down as COVID cases rise,” wrote Jonathan Coulman, AWIC executive director in an email.
AWIC’s report states, “As the economic realities and impacts of the COVID measures take hold, it will be a long time before our economies get back to pre-pandemic levels.”
AWIC’s Sault Ste. Marie monthly Labour Force Survey estimates are based on a sample of the working age population (people 15 years of age and over). As an example, the typical monthly results would be based on survey completions of 205 households and these would be extended, assuming existing trends will continue for the entire working population of 66,500.