Niagara Region’s unemployment rate in February dropped to its lowest level in nearly two decades, newly released figures show.
The latest Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada over the weekend showed unemployment in the St. Catharines-Niagara census area at 5.2 per cent, compared to 5.9 per cent in January.
This is the lowest the unemployment rate has been since April 2000, and placed Niagara not only above Ontario (5.5 per cent) and Canada (5.8 per cent), but also saw the region outperform comparator communities such as Hamilton, Waterloo, Toronto, Guelph, London, Barrie, and Kingston.
Niagara’s labour force participation rate (the total labour force relative to the size of the working-age population) showed signs of rebounding to post-2008-09 recession levels, according to the survey.
The latest economic figures highlight the upward trend in local economic activity and underscore the strategic initiatives Regional Council has taken to bolster trade, attract new investment, and create the economic conditions to help businesses stay competitive and grow.
The Niagara Economic Development Office continues to work on investment attraction and economic growth including recently appointing an Economic Development Officer to support local municipalities that do not have economic development staff.
From 2014 to 2017, employers in Niagara created a net 12,741 new jobs.
During that same time period, investment in industrial and commercial building construction totalled $1.52 billion, with 2017 ranking as the best year on record with $570 million invested in industrial and commercial building construction in Niagara.
Niagara companies are also exporting more. Between 2011 and 2016, exports grew by $500 million to a total of $4.11 billion, which signals that the regional economy is becoming more integrated into the global economy.
"Whether Niagara is listed as one of the top areas for economic momentum in Canada, construction values are increasing to an all-time high, or unemployment levels are hitting record lows, our local economy is firing on all cylinders. The latest Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada gives a strong indication that Regional Council’s strategic initiatives to support Niagara’s industries through local job creation and fostering the conditions to attract new investment are making an impact."
~ Alan Caslin, Niagara Regional Chair
905-980-6000 ext. 3747