Brantford has a shrinking labor force but the jobless rate increased in August for the third straight month.
According to data released by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, the Brantford-Brant unemployment rate climbed to 4.8 percent last month, up from July when Statistics Canada put it at 4.2 percent.
That rate remains lower than the Canadian and provincial averages.
In Canada, the unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 5.5 percent and Ontario’s rate climbed to 5.9 percent.
Across the country, employment numbers rose by 40,000 but those gains were outpaced by an increase of 103,000 working-age adults, fueled by an influx in immigration.
Similarly, in Ontario, the number of potential workers went up by 45,000 people.
That’s not reflected in the Brantford area though, according to the planning board executive director Danette Dalton.
She said Brantford’s labor force has been shrinking through 2023, along with the number of unemployed residents – an indication that people have left the labor market.
Data collected from Stats Can shows the local labor force has shrunk by 5,000 people since December 2022 while the number not employed or looking for work has increased by 6,200, with the largest drop among men.
“It is puzzling to see such a dramatic change,” said Dalton, “especially when there’s been a lot of talk this year of labor shortages and jobs going unfilled.
“The number of working age men not in the labor force has been particularly noticeable and concerning.”
Despite signs that hiring has slowed locally, Dalton said there is still work available for those looking.
There were about 2,500 new job postings in August on the Grand Erie Jobs online board that’s operated by the planning board, up slightly from July.
The Workplace Planning Board is one of 26 non-profit organizations that play a leadership role in labor force planning. The board is funded, in part, by the federal and provincial governments.