Also driving up the rate was an increase in the number of people looking for work, with about 600 more people actively looking for a job in February compared to January.
In his monthly analysis of the jobs numbers, David Robinson, an economics professor at Laurentian University, wrote the increase in unemployment last month isn’t, in itself, a cause for concern.
“Sudbury lost about 200 jobs — too small a number to be seen as significant statistically,” Robinson wrote. “Thunder Bay gained the same number. Essentially, northern cities are treading water.”
Of greater concern, he said, is the lack of long-term population and economic growth the city needs in the long run to thrive.
“A mining boom may have a small and temporary effect on that trend,” Robinson wrote on the inord.laurentian.ca website. “Northern politicians will have to come up with ways to strengthen local economies that are static or declining, and not depend on magical mining markets to save them the trouble of thinking.”
He was also critical of pinning hopes on a proposed casino development to act as a catalyst for economic development, citing one study done in the U.S. that found casinos can actually reduce employment.
“Evidence from the U.S. suggests that introducing a casino has at best a short-term positive effect on a local economy, probably from construction. The long-term effect is to reduce the money available for small businesses, weakening growth.”
It wasn’t all bad news, however. The weakening Canadian dollar is boosting exports to the U.S., good news for the mining industry.
“The slight weakening of the Canadian dollar is very good for the export potential of the mining supply and service sector that is the main driver of the Sudbury economy,” Robinson concluded.