As part of NWPB’s ongoing efforts to provide updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this briefing note asked a very simple question: did Niagara’s public facing job demand significantly change on the weekend before the region’s Stage 2 reopening as compared to the previous weekend.
To answer this question, NWPB utilized a job demand aggregator that reviewed public facing job demand for the time periods of June 12 – 14, 2020 and June 19 – 21, 2020. NWPB undertook this study in light of the fact that job demand during the height of the stage one lockdown, as seen our May 21 briefing note, saw an average weekly decline of 53.1% compared to data from 2019. In contrast, on the weekend of June 19, 2020, the last weekend before Niagara entered Stage 2 of reopening, local job demand increased by 71.8% compared to the previous weekend.
Breaking this job demand down into one-digit national occupation classifications offers further insights on the nature of Niagara’s job demand as the region approached reopening.
Job demand data from the weekend of June 19th shows that almost 48% of measurable job demand was for sales and service occupations. On individual review, many of these job postings reflected employers who anticipated needing to meet increased consumer demand in retail trade and food service as Niagara made the transition to Stage 2 on Wednesday June 24, 2020. There was a slight increase in the employers hiring for positions within hotels and campsites, but these employers were the exception rather than the rule.
It is equally noteworthy that there was no measurable job demand in either reference period for occupations in art, culture, recreation, and sport. This pattern reflects the fact that Niagara’s information, culture, and recreation sector was, proportionally, one of the hardest hit sectors in the region. For context, this sector employed 9,700 Niagara residents in February of 2020. By May of 2020 employment in this sector declined by 52.6% to 4,600 individuals.
While the majority of measured job demand in both reference periods was for full-time employment, the weekend of June 19, 2020 saw a slight increase in the proportion of full-time employment opportunities.
Viewing measurable job demand through a municipal lens shows the most demand during the weekend of June 19, 2020 in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Welland.
It is also important to note that this report only covers job demand that can be seen through online job postings. In a 2019 survey of local employers, 30.2% of employers (n=6,474) who were asked their most effective means of recruiting reported prioritizing word of mouth recruiting. This means that there is quite likely a segment of job demand that exists beyond our capacity to measure.
Despite the record-high unemployment rates Niagara and Ontario are experiencing due to the shutdown of industry sectors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this briefing note has demonstrated that reopening the economy has led to a surge in local labour demand. Historically, large spikes in job demand have led to challenging recruiting climates. Employers who leverage data rich job postings and present their demand through clear and transparent means will be likely to attract more local talent. Moreover, the reduction of restrictions on movement means that Niagara’s residents, about 15% of whom commute outside of Niagara for work, will be able to resume job search and employment opportunities in Hamilton and the GTA, potentially creating more challenges for local employers.
NWPB has recently released an updated labour market report. This document provides a snapshot of Niagara’s employment and job demand patterns in 2019, contrasting them against data for the first quarter of 2020. It is our hope that this report will afford decision makers a clear and comprehensive understanding of Niagara’s pre- and post-pandemic employment landscape.
Despite Niagara’s move to Phase 2 of loosened restrictions, the coming months will likely continue to prove difficult for both employers and job seekers, alike. Individuals experiencing employment disruptions and employers looking to access services from the provincial or federal government can find support from Niagara’s Employment Ontario service providers. Contact information for a service provider near you can be found through this link.
For all other inquiries please contact Vivian Kinnaird
We are collecting data to better understand who is looking for work and what kind of opportunities jobseekers are searching for. This data is completely anonymous and non-personally identifiable.