At 6.9 per cent, the jobs picture would appear to have brightened last month, considering the rate in August was 7.2 per cent. But David Robinson, an economist at Laurentian University, wrote in his monthly analysis of the labour market that a city-wide trend of shedding jobs continued last month.
“As we reported last month, over the 20-month period Thunder Bay lost an average of 40 jobs per month and Sudbury lost an average of five jobs per month,” Robinson wrote. “Participation rates have dropped in Sudbury, so that measured unemployment actually fell in Sudbury by about 400.”
The decline continues a job-losing trend that began in January, he said.
“To put this in context, between January 2010 and January 2012, employment in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas ran up by 20 per cent — double the gains in other sectors,” Robinson wrote.
Canadian employment increased for the second consecutive month in September, up 52,000, mainly in full-time work. He said growth was concentrated in Ontario, where employment grew by 31,000.The bulk of the gains were in self-employment.
“Employment growth in September was almost all for workers aged 25 to 54,” Robinson said in his report. “This is unusual and encouraging (although employment) for workers 15 to 24 actually declined by five per cent.”
While short-term results are disappointing, long-term prospects for Greater Sudbury remain bright. Driving the growth are Cliffs’ plans to build a chromite smelter in Copper Cliff, Vale’s Clean AER project and the new downtown school of architecture.
As a result, Sudbury could see 4,000 new jobs by 2016, according to a report released in the spring by BMO Capital Markets.
Such a big jump would touch virtually every sector of the economy, the report suggested. From the retail sector to the housing market, the ripple effect of resource sector investment in Sudbury will see the city's economy benefiting for years to come.
Although job growth remains modest now, “employment in Sudbury has recouped all of the declines suffered during the recession,” the report stated.
Last year, the city's jobless rates fell as low as 5.6 per cent, close to the record 5.1 per cent set in mid-2008.