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Sudbury’s unemployment rate remained mostly unchanged in December

Rate sees marginal increase from 7.6% to 7.7 %

Greater Sudbury’s unemployment rate in December remained relatively unchanged, only edging slightly upward from 7.6 per cent to 7.7 per cent.

In December, there were 79,100 people employed in Greater Sudbury, down from 79,600 people in November, said Statistics Canada in its monthly Labour Force Survey.

Employment in Ontario was little changed in December, following monthly growth averaging 2.2 per cent from June to November. 

The unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 9.5 per cent as more people looked for work. Employment losses were greatest in the accommodation and food services industry (down 5.9 per cent), while more people were working in manufacturing ( up 2.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate across the country was 8.6 per cent in December, essentially unchanged from 8.5 per cent in November.

Employment in Canada fell by 63,000 (0.3 per cent) in December — the first decline since April.

Part-time employment declined by 99,000 (2.9 per cent) in December, led by losses among youth aged 15 to 24 ( down 58,000 or 5.1 per cent) and those aged 55 and older (down 27,000 or three per cent).

By December, 1.1 million Canadian workers were affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown — in the form of lost employment or reduced hours — compared with 5.5 million in April.

Self-employment fell by 62,000 in December, while the number of employees in both the public and private sectors was little changed.

A notable impact of COVID-19 has been the large-scale adoption of working from home as a means of balancing employment with the need to protect health and safety, said Statistics Canada.

“With the labour market recording its first employment losses since April and public health measures being tightened in response to a new wave of COVID-19 infections, the continued viability of telework will be an important factor in the performance of the Canadian economy in 2021.”

While the proportion of Canadians working from home declined from a peak in April (41.6 per cent) to a low in September (25.6 per cent), before increasing slightly in the fall, the degree of change has varied by sector. 

In three industries — professional, scientific and technical services; finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing; and public administration — working from home has remained at elevated levels. These industries have the lowest proportions of workers in occupations that typically require close physical proximity to others, and all have regained or surpassed February employment levels.