The good news is that the unemployment rate for Sault Ste. Marie fell to 6.5 per cent in June, compared to a provincial rate of 8.4 per cent and a nationwide rate of 8.2 per cent.
The concerning part is that less of the community’s overall population is working or actively looking for work.
That from June employment numbers compiled by the Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation (AWIC).
“As our population ages we see more people leaving the workforce (retiring, for example) and COVID may have accelerated this trend,” stated Jonathan Coulman, AWIC's executive director, referring to AWIC’s monthly report.
Sectors such as tourism and hospitality have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions and have yet to open up, which could mean some people are still waiting to get back into the labour market.
A lower participation and employment rate means a tighter labour market, making it difficult for some employers to find workers.
However, AWIC says we could expect to see the employment rate go up in the coming months as COVID restrictions are hopefully eased.
“The lower participation and employment rates are a reminder that we are not fully opened up and that we will likely have a long recovery ahead,” Coulman stated in the AWIC report for June.
Online job postings in the Sault have continued to increase since February.
Not surprisingly, there is a steady demand for workers in healthcare, essential retail and delivery related occupations, along with an increase in job postings related to seasonal and summer work (general labour and student jobs), AWIC states.
AWIC says, “We will continue to watch the participation and employment rates and hope that they begin to climb as we move through the summer months and restrictions ease.”