NEWS Oct 10, 2017 Hamilton Spectator
The Bank of Montreal’s latest regional labour market report calls Hamilton this quarter’s “real eye-catcher” with employment jumping 12.5 per cent year over year and a 4.2 per cent unemployment rate. – John Rennison,Hamilton Spectator file photo
Hamilton is the No. 2 performer when it comes to employment in Canada, according to the Bank of Montreal’s latest regional labour market report.
But the third-quarter report — called “Hammer Time” — includes a caveat explaining the city’s sunny showing is based on residents with jobs, including those who commute to the GTA for work.
“As we often caution, this partly reflects commuting out of Hamilton to jobs located elsewhere in the GTA (the survey is based on your place of residence),” the regional “report card” says.
Because of the same dynamic, Kitchener, Barrie, Guelph and Oshawa also rank in the top 10, it notes. Kelowna, B.C., took the top spot in the BMO study.
It calls Hamilton this quarter’s “real eye-catcher” with employment jumping 12.5 per cent year over year and a 4.2 per cent unemployment rate.
“It’s a story about broad-based economic growth across the region,” report author Robert Kavcic said Monday.
The senior economist said while the jobless rate is falling, population flows to Hamilton from the GTA have accelerated since 2015 due to “affordability reasons.”
Local market observers have said that phenomenon has been a major driver of Hamilton’s hot real estate run.
Last week, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington reported the average sale price in September for residential properties in the region was $555,698, a 7.2 per cent increase over September 2016. Meanwhile, the average price of a home in Toronto last month was $775, 546, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Red-hot real estate, however, has been a double-edged sword for Hamilton, with some residents struggling to find affordable housing in an era of precarious employment.
Statistics Canada reported employment increased by 43,000 jobs across the country in the third quarter.
The BMO report notes that Ontario was the standout performer among the provinces in the same period with 91,000 jobs created between June and September and a 5.6 per cent unemployment rate.
“The public sector and self-employment did the lifting in the quarter, which softens the result, but full-time jobs were strong.”
Kavcic added Ontario has seen jobs created in the professional services, such as technology, health and education, as well as considerable construction activity.
Last week, the city announced it had surpassed the annual $1-billion mark for construction as of Sept. 29. This is the seventh time Hamilton has hit that figure.
“This record-setting pace of development is further evidence of the continued boom that Hamilton is experiencing,” Jason Thorne, general manager of planning and economic development, said in a news release.
Kelowna took the top spot in BMO’s third-quarter regional report card. BMO’s next report card will examine December figures.