“That is really a testament to the strength of Barrie’s business community and (the local) economy, and the fact that we have so many businesses here that are committed to working their way through COVID and keeping their workforces.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman
Barrie businesses got a “shoutout” from Mayor Jeff Lehman for their efforts to keep employees working during the COVID-19 crisis, an observation backed up by jobs data from Statistics Canada.
“I’d like to give a shoutout to the Barrie business community. On the Friday before Labour Day weekend, the August jobs report was issued by Statistics Canada … and for the fifth month in a row, Barrie had the highest employment rate of any city in the country,” Lehman said during the Sept. 14 council meeting.
“That is really a testament to the strength of Barrie’s business community and (the local) economy, and the fact that we have so many businesses here that are committed to working their way through COVID and keeping their workforces.”
He continued that he was pleased to see strength in a number of sectors, including construction, real estate, and manufacturing.
In the construction sector, “the employment level is now above pre-COVID, and in the manufacturing sector the employment level has returned to the same level that it was pre-COVID. We have some other sectors like professional and technical that have actually increased their employment above pre-COVID levels.”
The mayor acknowledged that other sectors continue to struggle.
“Anything tourism related, anything that requires a large indoor audience, hotels, and other sectors like restaurants continue to have serious challenges, and there are a lot of people out of work. The unemployment level has not returned to pre-COVID levels,” he said.
“But I do want to say the progress of the Barrie business community and the work that they have done over the last six months to try and work through these incredibly trying times has put us on the top of the table across the country, and I really want to express my appreciation for everyone out there who has been part of trying to maintain jobs through this difficult time.”
The mayor also noted that the pace of development applications has increased “contrary to what folks might have expected” and urged residents to go online to review them.
“We are seeing substantial development interest across the city, and that probably goes hand-in-glove with the very, very strong real estate market in Barrie … the amount of information now available on the website surrounding all planning applications is light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago.”