Spinning the unemployment numbers

Statistics Canada releases its Labour Force Information report every month, and while each edition contains many new numbers, almost all of them play a barely-audible second-fiddle to the unemployment rate.

I live in part of Middlesex County that falls within the London census metropolitan area (CMA). This area had a panic attack when the March figures were released a couple of weeks ago. You'll quickly see why when you scan the unemployment rates of the 15 CMAs in Ontario covered in the report:

Guelph6.0%
Ottawa6.1
Hamilton6.1
Thunder Bay6.3
Kingston6.3
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo  7.2  
Barrie7.3
Brantford7.7
Greater Sudbury7.8
St. Catharines-Niagara7.9
Toronto8.4
Oshawa8.6
Windsor9.0
London9.6
Peterborough10.2

You might think it would be hard to put out a positive spin when your number is second from the bottom (and as close to the bottom as it is to the one ahead of you). But when you look at the numbers—all of the numbers—it turns out that it's not so difficult to find a silver lining.

And that got me wondering how hard it would be to find something strongly positive to say about each of the 15 CMAs—based solely on their Labour Force Information stats—no matter how bad their unemployment rate is. I was particularly thinking of what municipal politicians might say to put the best spin on their local numbers.

Obviously, the ones with the lowest unemployment rates are a piece of cake:
  1. Guelph: We have the lowest uemployment rate of any CMA in Ontario.
  2. Ottawa: We're neck-and-neck with Guelph for the lowest unemployment rate in Ontario. The 22,400 net new jobs we created last year was second only to Toronto.
  3. Hamilton: We're neck-and-neck with Guelph for the lowest unemployment rate in Ontario.
  4. Thunder Bay: We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario.
  5. Kingston: We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario and are second among all CMAs in Ontario in net new jobs created per capita since the last municipal election.
Let's see what we can come up with for the 10 remaining CMAs that won't be able to brag about their current unemployment rates.
  1. Barrie: We've created more jobs per capita than any CMA in the province since the last election and have seen the largest drop in unemployment rate among all Ontario CMAs. (I like that one.)
  2. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo: Among the CMAs with a population over 200,000, no one has created more jobs per capita than we have since the last election—nearly 15,000 net new jobs.
  3. London: Outside of the huge urban areas of Toronto and Ottawa, no CMA in the province created as many jobs as we did last year. (See! We got something.)
  4. Toronto: Since the last election, we've created more new jobs than all the other 14 CMAs in Ontario combined, and are in the top four even on a per capita basis.
  5. Windsor: Since the last election, we've had the second biggest drop in unemployment rate among the 15 CMAs in Ontario.
  6. Greater Sudbury: Since the last election, we've created the third most jobs per capita among the 15 CMAs in Ontario and have the third highest drop in unemployment rate.
  7. Brantford: Among the less urban CMAs in Ontario—the seven with a population under 200,000—only Barrie created more jobs than we did last year.
  8. St. Catharines-Niagara: Since the last election, we've created a net 12,300 new jobs— only two CMAs in Ontario have created more jobs per capita than we have. Our drop in unemployment rate makes us one of the top four performers in the province.
  9. Oshawa: Since the last election, our unemployment rate has dropped from 10.1% to 8.6%—a performance that puts us in the top third of all CMAs in the province. (Showing some stretch marks but still okay.)
  10. Peterborough: You know, these labour force numbers aren't the be-all and end-all.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fastest growing (and shrinking) Southwestern Ontario communities

London, Ontario and its 20 to 44-year-old population ... is it really so bad?

Can Windsor use a non-snub to energize a focus on innovation?