The August Labour Force Survey is shedding new light on Kingston’s economic condition, five months following the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The report, released on September 4th, reflects the week of August 9th to the 15th, where Canada saw many businesses re-open with health-restrictions in place.

Unemployment peaked at 12.4% in June

Kingston saw a modest improvement in its unemployment rate. The unemployment rate decreased by 1.2%, to 10.1% percent in August. The unemployment rate peaked at 12.4% in June.

Despite the steady improvement in the city’s unemployment rate, there is still a long way to go. According to April’s Labour Force Survey, Kingston had an employment rate of 7.9% going into the economic shutdown.

A chart depicting Kingston’s unemployment rate over five months. The unemployment rate peaked in June and is now declining, but it is far from pre COVID levels.

The employment rate has also seen steady improvement. The employment rate was recorded as 55.6%, a 1.5% increase from July.

The results can be attributed to sectors which were hit hard by the local economy. The tourism sector, as well as businesses that are reliant on students were especially to blame. According to the Canadian Press, Mayor Bryan Patterson states that 6,000 people have lost their jobs and expects the fallout to last several years.

According to Kingston’s Economic Development Corporation’s survey, 46 businesses reported that they had to lay 100% of their staff off due to COVID-19, 64 businesses also reported various proportions of their staff that they had to lay off. However, 93 businesses did not need to lay off any staff.

The city has begun several initiatives to encourage economic activity in Kingston. One of these initiatives include the Love Kingston campaign. Downtown Kingston also held its annual Princess st. Side Walk Sale last Saturday.

Umeployment rate higher for mothers in August

Mothers also face high unemployment rates during the summer months, particularly in August. “The number of mothers who are unemployed but have arrangements to start a new job within four weeks typically spikes [in August]” the report said. Statistics Canada expects mothers to being new contracts in September. The education services industry is known to employ more mothers than any other industry.

Comparatively, Kingston is on the higher end of the spectrum in the province, with Sudbury’s unemployment rate being 8.6%, and Ottawa’s unemployment rate being 9.5%. Metropolitan areas hardest hit by the pandemic maintain higher rates. In particular, Toronto was recorded to have a 13.9 percent unemployment rate.

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