A recent snapshot of local employment numbers for November shows there are still fewer jobs compared to the same month in 2019, pre-pandemic. It also shows fewer people are working or actively looking for work compared to fall 2020.
November’s unemployment rate for Sault Ste. Marie was 5.2 per cent, according to the most recent Labour Force Survey as reported by Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation (AWIC).
That is lower than the national average at 6 per cent, as well as the 6.4 per cent average for Ontario.
That 5.2-per-cent unemployment rate for the Sault is down from September’s rate of 9.3 and the 11.1 per cent experienced in July 2020.
Employment in Sault Ste. Marie held steady at 33,000 jobs in November, down from a high of 41,500 jobs in November 2020.
With 33,000 jobs recorded for November, Sault Ste. Marie is holding 12 per cent fewer jobs than it did in November of 2019, previous to COVID-19.
”We still have a way to go to fully recover and reach the same levels of employment — especially in sectors like Retail and Culture and Recreation,” said AWIC in the report.
Compared to last year alone, the drop is much more severe — going from 42,100 jobs across all sectors to the current 33,000.
The participation rate represents the part of the population which is working or actively looking for work. At 51 per cent for November 2021, that rate is down more than 15 per cent versus October 2020.
”Sault Ste. Marie’s lower Participation Rate is mainly attributable to the fact that we have an older population and therefore more people in our general population have left the workforce (retired),” said AWIC in the report. ”This could also be partially an indication that people are slow to re-enter the job market after COVID restrictions.”
Unique monthly job postings for Sault Ste. Marie were at 2,579 for November 2021, well above the 1,173 in the same month in 2020, according to a report by AWIC.
AWIC said there is an increase in the November 2021 job listings for retail-related jobs, as well as for cooks, food counter and kitchen helpers.
In November there were 158 postings for retail salesperson jobs and 129 for registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses.
Sault Area Hospital was the top local employer seeking new hires in November, with a total of 261 postings, while second place Algoma university had 36.