The unemployment rate: Niagara’s unemployment rate in May of 2011 was 9.2%, higher than 8.3% for Ontario and 7.2% for June, 2011 for Canada. The 2009/2010 unemployment rate was 9.2% in Niagara (8.7% in Ontario; 8.0% in Canada). Unemployment for youth 15-24 years of age was 17% (17.2% in Ontario; 14.8% in Canada). This rate increased from 6.1% in 2005, to 6.2% in 2006 to 6.6% in 2007 (6.4% in Ontario and 6.0% in Canada) and 7.2% in May of 2008. Source: CCHS 2008
In 2010 and 2011, the rate of unemployment for males went up markedly in Niagara– in part accounted for by the closing of many larger manufacturing companies during that period that employed males in Niagara. In the first quarter of 2011, the St. Catharines unemployment rate was the highest of all Canadian CMAs as a percentage of the population, even though the unemployment rate was 8.4% in 2009 (Q1), 8.9% in 2010 (Q1) and went down to 8.2% in 2011 (Q1).
Source: CANSIM Table 282-0052, 2011
Percent of population unemployed (aged 15 and over)
Unemployment rate by CMA in the first quarter of 2011
The unemployment rates for Niagara went up from 2008 to 2009, as it did in many other places in Ontario (Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Toronto, Oshawa) and Canada (Calgary, Edmonton)
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2009 – Data published by CMA
Minimum wage: In Ontario, the minimum wage increased from $6.85 in 2001 to $10.25 in 2010, benefiting low wage workers. However, a troubling feature of contemporary economic conditions is the number of working people who don’t earn enough money to lift them out of poverty. The working poor are defined as households who receive more than half their income from government transfers and whose income is below the after-tax Low Income Measure (LIM). In 2005, 1,004,680 or 7.2 per cent of Canadian families were defined as “working poor.”
Impact of full-day kintergarten: The impact of full-day kindergarten on employment needs to be tracked and assessed.