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Mayor’s Task Force Declares “London Job Crisis”
London Mayor Ed Holder’s Jobs Task Force has declared that London has a jobs crisis, not in creating jobs – but in filling them. In short, London’s job seekers and employers are not connecting.
A report released by the Task Force on Wednesday (attached), based on detailed analysis of Statistics Canada data and hundreds of interviews with London job seekers and employers, lays out compelling evidence of London’s challenge in filling jobs. Despite a nearly historic low unemployment rate, London’s employment rate is now the worst in all of Canada. By comparison, in 2004, it was in the top third of all Canadian metropolitan areas.
“I know there are many in the community who may view this as yet another political gesture. Having reviewed the report, I can assure you that this is one of the deepest and most comprehensive dives into the very real and sobering employment statistics that has ever been undertaken in this city,” said London Chamber of Commerce GM, and Task Force member, Gerry McCartney. “While none of us are very pleased, or proud of the critical discoveries revealed in the report, this is an effort we have no choice but to act on. What’s at stake is the viability and sustainability of London’s workforce, its economy, and its hope for a successful future,” he said.
Over the past year alone, London’s workforce has declined by 10,000 people and it’s not due to lack of job openings. Statistics Canada’s latest job vacancy report shows 8,695 job openings in the London economic region.
“I am afraid we have arrived at a point in time where celebrating a drop or two in the unemployment rate is not worth celebrating at all when measured against one of the lowest participation rates in the country. It’s time to act,” McCartney continued.
The report lays out recommendations (attached) on how London can reverse its decline en route to hitting the Mayor’s previously announced target of 13,000 jobs filled this Council term. Among other things, the report provides recommendations to better connect job seekers with employers, the difficulty in filling jobs in London’s industrial areas without more reliable bus service, and the need to properly fund the people and communications plans needed to capture $1.8-billion of annual new income for London workers and employers.
“London has many priorities, but nothing is more important than filling our current job openings,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “The Task Force has laid out a path, it’s time to get the job done.”
The Task Force includes representatives from the LEDC, London Chamber of Commerce, City of London Social Services, London Region Manufacturing Council, Knighthunter, Western University, and Fanshawe College.
“We create pathways for students leading to jobs,” said Task Force member Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, Executive Advisor and Government Relations, Fanshawe College, “The Task Force helps students create strong community connections and gain important real-world experience,” she said.