Niagara’s unemployment rate is falling.
A Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey for February estimates the unemployment rate for St. Catharines-Niagara has fallen from 7 per cent to 5.2 per cent since October — the lowest rate the area has seen in since 2001.
The survey shows a steady decrease in unemployment during the last five months, while neighbouring cities like Hamilton have seen a decrease, with the unemployment rate rising 1.3 per cent since October. Hamilton now sits even with Niagara at 5.2 per cent.
According to past StatCan surveys, the highest unemployment rate St.Catharines-Niagara has seen since 2001 was 11 per cent in June of 2009.
As a whole, Niagara’s unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent in February.
Niagara regional chair Alan Caslin said the local economy is “firing on all cylinders.”
“Construction values are increasing to an all-time high, or unemployment levels are hitting record lows,” he said.
“The (survey) gives a strong indication that regional council’s strategic initiatives to support Niagara’s industries through local job creation and fostering the conditions to attract new investment are making an impact.”
Ontario as a whole saw little change in unemployment rates when compared with January, according to StatCan.
Across the country, employment increased for both men and women in the core working age group (25 to 54), while there was little change for youth aged 15 to 24 and for people older than 55.
In general, several industries saw employment gains, led by health care and social assistance while employment declined in a number of other industries, including wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing.