CK’s economy bouncing back

(BlackburnNews.com file photo by Adelle Loiselle)

The economy in Chatham-Kent seems to be rebounding from last year’s pandemic level.

According to the latest federal figures, May’s jobless rate in Chatham-Kent was seven per cent, which is almost half of the 12.5 per cent in May of 2020.

The municipality noted the seven per cent rate is unchanged from April and continues to trend below the federal and provincial rates of 9.3 and 8.2 per cent respectively.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said not all sectors are recovering at the same rate and more work needs to be done but believes the recovery is real.

“What these figures tell me is that council’s direction to support community growth through everything from business development to Infrastructure through housing are moving Chatham-Kent in the right direction,” said Canniff.

Director of Economic Development Stuart McFadden said a number of other key indicators are moving in the right direction in addition to the unemployment rate.

“The number of employed persons has increased by 8,000 year over year while the number of unemployed has decreased from 5,800 to 3,700 during the same time,” he said.  “We continue to hear from employers who are having challenges finding a labour force that matches their needs. By continuing to promote local growth, especially in housing, employers can bring in the workers they need to remain competitive in their market.”

Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire added economic prosperity is a top priority of municipal council during this term.

“Prosperity provides the resources we need to achieve our other goals of increasing our population and providing a healthy and safe community where we can focus on people and culture and environmental sustainability,” Shropshire said. “It’s all part of moving our community in the direction we need it to go.”

Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the economy scraped out a gain of 0.7 per cent in June and grew by 2.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year as pandemic restrictions started lifting. The gain follows two months of setbacks.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government wants to ensure small businesses in particular have the support they need so the country can have a full and robust recovery.