Incumbent Mayoralty candidate Christian Provenzano is encouraged by recent employment figures that point to strength in the Sault Ste Marie economy, but he remains mindful that efforts to develop the local workforce and economy need to continue.
As reported in the media, the most recent figures from Statistics Canada show that Sault Ste Marie’s unemployment rate for August was 5.1 per cent. That’s markedly better than both the provincial and national rates for Ontario and Canada, which measured at 5.7 per cent and 6.0 percent respectively during August.
“It’s heartening to see that we’ve had a strong local jobs report for August,” said Provenzano. “Like many Sault residents, I’ve noticed a substantial number of postings on local job boards in recent months and lots of “Help Wanted” and ‘Now Hiring’ signs going up at local businesses. Despite some uncertainties around international trade, our city’s economy has clearly been gaining momentum. It’s great to see that being reflected in more people working and more businesses hiring.”
Other positive indicators from August showed that both Sault ste Marie’s labour force participation and employment rates have also increased-indicating that more people are entering the workforce or are actively looking for work. The participation rate reached 65 percent while the employment rate measured in at 62 percent-both up substantially compared to past months,
However; while the jobs report is welcome and positive news, Mayor Provenzano is well aware tha6t there is more work to do to help local workers and businesses succeed over the long term.
“An issue that has concerned me as Mayor has been developing our local labour force. During my time in office, I’ve spoken with many employers who have told me that they are having a hard time filling open positions and finding candidates with the skills and experience they need. As an ageing community, we have to make sure that we are attracting and developing the local talent that our employers require, if we want to both keep and create well-paying jobs.” said Provenzano.
Addressing labour shortages and skills gaps are major challenges, but important first steps are being taken through the FutureSSM community plan that has been championed by Mayor Provenzano. Thanks in part to funding secured from FedNor and NOHFC, the FutureSSM project team will include a Labour Force Development Coordinator who will develop strategies to meet local market needs.
Said Provenzano, “To develop our workforce, we need everyone at the table-employers, schools, the social services and many others. A Mayor can do only so much by themselves, but a true community wide effort can accomplish great things, no matter how big the challenge. That’s why if I’m re-elected and have the privilege of serving another term, I’m going to stay focused on working together with partners and building relationships and networks to drive more positive change in Sault Ste Marie.”
To learn more about Mayor Provenzano’s re-election campaign and priorities for the next term visit www.christianprovenzano.ca.