Lots of jobs, but rising unemployment. What’s it like in London?

Thousands of jobs are begging, others are collapsing and London’s unemployment rate continues to rise. The question is why?

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Thousands of jobs are begging, others are collapsing and London’s unemployment rate continues to rise.

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The question is why?

Unemployment in London rose for the third consecutive month in July, to 6.1%, bucking the national trend which left Canada with a record rate of 4.9% which is about as close to full employment in this country.

But while the national rate has held steady, even with more than a million job vacancies across Canada, the rate in the London area has risen again amid a growing pile of job vacancies – more than 6 000, posted with area employment agencies, and more to come as major employers, such as food giant Maple Leaf Foods Ltd. and online retailer Amazon, are achieving major new operations they’re building here.

How could both things – the unemployment rate and the large number of unfilled jobs – increase at the same time?

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Analysts say a mix of factors could be at play, including more job seekers entering the labor market and being counted in monthly unemployment figures, like the latest snapshot released on Friday, and others being more picky about the types of jobs they want.

Still others simply do not have the skills employers need to fill many of the available positions.

“When people think they can find a job and start their search process. . . it’s putting some pressure on the unemployment rate, but if that’s what’s happening, it’s actually a positive thing for the labor market,” said Audra Bowlus, an economics professor at Western University. .

“The other thing that could happen is that we have a mismatch between people who are unemployed and looking for work, and the vacancies that are now available,” she said. , adding “it’s no longer a problem” if so.

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The explanation likely lies somewhere in between, she said.

If you ask Jason Bates, who chairs the London Region Manufacturing Council, part of the problem is the need for a better trained workforce.

“There’s definitely not enough talent available, especially in the skilled trades,” he said. “It’s been a recurring problem for years.

“You have a lot of people retiring and there just isn’t enough new talent to replace a lot of those people leaving the workforce.”

Filling certain jobs has become such a challenge that it is hampering the rate of growth of certain companies.

It’s also led some companies to start looking at automation to help address long-term staffing shortages, Bates said.

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“A lot of plants look at it in a different light,” he said.

A survey of businesses in the London area this year by the regional workforce planning council found that nearly two-thirds of employers are struggling to get their hands on enough labor , citing the lack of skilled workers as the main problem.

But Bates also said manufacturers were struggling to find workers for lower-skilled positions, including entry-level and other clerical jobs.

It’s not just a problem in manufacturing, said Kapil Lakhotia, director of the London Economic Development Corp.

“We know there are a lot of industries that are seeing significant growth in this region that are desperately looking for more workers,” he said.

“What we’re hearing from employers is that, despite the unemployment numbers, they just aren’t getting the volume of applications for vacancies that are being advertised.”

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If so, it could be that job seekers have become more selective, seeking better paying work amid the rising cost of living or more flexible work arrangements such as working from home, a said Bowlus.

She said when workers know there are plenty of jobs available, they are less likely to settle for whatever they can get.

“They have what we would call a ‘high reservation salary,'” she said.

“They want to get the best price for their skills and therefore they are unwilling to accept jobs in the service sector if they think they can do better. So they are very selective about what they apply for.

If Canada is heading into a recession, as some analysts believe, the mindset and behavior of those looking for work will likely change, Bowlus said.

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Lakhotia said he was aware of rumblings of potential economic problems ahead, but is confident the London area economy, with its mix of many different types of employers, can weather the fallout.

“The diversity of our economy helps us to better withstand economic cycles,” he said.

“While we cannot control global economic conditions in our part of the country, we have many growing employers and strong demand for workers. And we expect that to continue with a pipeline of new projects that are already underway. »

The number of people employed in the London area in July was 294,900, around 30,000 more than in February 2020, just before the start of the pandemic.

The figures include St. Thomas, Strathroy and parts of Elgin and Middlesex counties.

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The region’s labor force participation rate – the share of working-age people employed or looking for work – was 66% in July. That ratio has hovered in that range for months, down from 57.2% three years ago, when it was among the lowest of major cities in Canada.

Canada’s unemployment rate remained at a historic low of 4.9% in July, unchanged from June amid a national labor shortage.

The market remains exceptionally tight, with more than a million vacancies and the lowest unemployment rate on record using comparable data dating back to 1976.

– with dossier by the Canadian Press



July unemployment rate compared to June

LONDON: 6.1% (5.8)

ONTARIO: 5.3% (5.1)

CANADA: 4.9% (unchanged)


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