Employment in Ontario increased by 176,300 from December 2016 to December 2017. The increase represents a 2.5 per cent growth in jobs in 2017, just over double the growth rate recorded in each of the previous two years.
In the Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo area, there were 7,100 jobs created over the same period.
“The Ontario – and Cambridge area – economy is strong, thanks to ongoing efforts by the province to foster business and job growth. At the same time, the province is ensuring everyone may share in the prosperity, with efforts including raising the minimum wage,” said Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge.
“Our economy is strong because — together — we’ve created a competitive business environment, a highly skilled workforce and a low corporate tax rate while making infrastructure investments that will help sustain our growth for years to come.”
The Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent in December, down 0.1 per cent from November.
The Ontario unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent in December, unchanged from the month before. The national rate is 5.7 per cent, down 0.2 per cent in November.
The Ontario unemployment rate has been below the national average for 33 consecutive months and below six per cent for the past five months -- a first since 2000.
More than 800,000 net new jobs have been created in Ontario since the recessionary low. The majority of these jobs are full-time, in the private sector, and in industries that pay above-average wages. According to the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, by 2020, over 200,000 more net new jobs are expected to be created in the province.
The government recognizes that not everyone has shared in this growth, and many workers are still facing challenges.
On January 1, the minimum wage rose to $14 an hour, helping millions of people across the province support their families and get ahead in a changing economy. On January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour.
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
“We have worked hard to ensure an economic environment that is positive and allows the private sector to create good jobs and workers to earn a decent living. Our government will keep doing our part by supporting a dynamic business climate and promoting fairness and opportunity for everyone,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
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