“The variations between industry employment levels really shows how this pandemic is not targeting any one sector over another.” Says Charlene Hofbauer, Executive Director of the Workforce Planning Board. “Sudden employment drops in industries that seemed to be surging just 5 months ago demonstrate that any industry could face an uncertain future. In some cases, these drops are due to restructuring or shifts in demand and in some cases, such as with health care, we may be facing a workforce that is not participating in opportunities which will have long-term implications for those sectors.”
Loss industries (March 2020 compared to January 2021)
Accommodation and food services: This industry is inclusive of hotels and restaurant and has seen employment fall from 5,700 people to 4,800 people employed over this time frame. The industry managed to raise its employment levels over the summer, but those numbers have declined a bit since then. The first month of the second lockdown saw levels stabilize whereas in April of 2020, the industry lost 1000 positions.
Educational services: This industry includes the postsecondary schools, school boards and private educational groups. It was hit hard when looking at employment levels. Employment fell from 12,400 employed in March to 6,700 employed in January 2021. These losses have been in many of the operational services of the postsecondary institutions. In both, April 2020 and January 2021 (the first months of the lockdowns), employment did rise – by 300 in April and 600 in January.
Retail Trade: This industry reported 7,100 people employed in March 2020 and that number has grown to 9,700. While the first lockdown saw employment rise 200 positions in the first month, the second lockdown has seen employment fall 700 positions, but it remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Manufacturing: This industry has also seen an overall growth in tis employment levels. Between March and January, the industry added 6,300 positions – 15,000 to 21,300 people. While there has been a bit of a decline in employment levels since September, the industry gained 300 positions in January 2021. April 2020 saw 1,500 positions lost.
Professional, scientific and technical services: This industry has also seen some employment positions added. In March 6,300 people were employed by the industry and that number has risen to 7,300. That employment has been driven by men securing positions, although there has been some increased hiring of women in the past couple of months. In January, the industry added 1,300 positions for both men and women whereas the 600 positions lost in April 2020 were all held by women.
health care and social assistance: One area of concern and surprise is the loss of people in the health care and social assistance sector. The industry employed 13,200 people in March of 2020. That number has fallen to 5,900 people as of January 2020 across Guelph’s area. Note: that male employment cannot be factored into January’s numbers as male employment fell below 1,500, the data suppression point. The industry consistently lost people between March and November of 2020 and has been on a slight rise since November. In both first months of lockdown, employment in the industry fell. This is very concerning for employment and for the community in the middle of a pandemic.