Barrie’s unemployment rate continues to trend in the right direction

Barrie's unemployment rate is now down below the provincial average

The Canadian economy lost 207,000 jobs in April as businesses dealt with increasing public health restrictions from another wave of COVID-19.

Statistics Canada says the national unemployment rate rose to 8.1 per cent from 7.5 per cent in March.

Ontario saw a drop of 153,000 jobs in April, most in the retail sector.

Unemployment in Barrie dropped almost 3 per cent in April from 11.0 per cent in March to 8.3 per cent last month.

Barrie went from having one of the lowest jobless rates in Canada at the beginning of the pandemic to one of the highest rates in 2021.

Companies content to have portion of workforce operating at home permanently

Mayor Jeff Lehman is happy Barrie is now down below the provincial average.

“Frankly I think we have to take all these numbers with a grain of salt right now as it’s tough to know how many people are unemployed, how many are on a wage subsidy, how many are on CRB (Canada Recovery Benefit) or EI (Employment Insurance Benefits) and how each of these groups is reporting their employment status,” says Lehman. “But all that said, it’s good news regardless of the numbers, as the unemployment rate has dropped the last three months in a row.”

Stats Canada says more Canadians worked less than half their usual hours in April, up 288,000 or 27.2 per cent.

April’s 207,000 job losses come following 303,000 jobs added in March.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the job losses “difficult but necessary.”