Toronto’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, rising to 10.1 per cent, just as Mayor Rob Ford says the city is “booming.”
Unemployment in the city rose from 8.9 per cent in September 2013 to 10.1 per cent this past December, according to a recent Statistics Canada report.
The unemployment rate for Canada overall is 7.2 per cent.
But on Tuesday, Ford painted a much more optimistic picture of the city’s employment situation — especially during his time in office, taking credit for close to 60,000 jobs added to the local economy last year.
“Toronto is booming today. We're a global powerhouse,” he said.
“More people are employed in this city, more than three years ago….There are 58,000 more residents employed this year than last year, that’s also a fact that, you know, and we have experienced three consecutive years of positive growth.”
There has been some steady job growth in Toronto to back up those claims, especially in the construction sector. The city says retail is also showing some added strength.
“They were showing considerable weakness earlier this year, but the last three or four months of retails sales they’ve been very strong on the year over year basis, they’re up to four almost five per cent in some cases,” said Peter Viducsis, the city's manager of research.
However, Vidcsis would not agree with the mayor’s overly positive word choice.
“Growth is not spectacular. We're not on an amazing boom, but at the same time, growth is steady and strong and we expect that to remain the case,” he said.
For many, like Jamie Diaz, finding a job remains as hard — if not harder — than it has been for a while now.
Diaz, who typically works as a nurse and personal care assistant, spent Wednesday at Toronto’s employment centre. He has been looking for work in his field for over a year and a half.
“I worked at Toronto Western Hospital for four years then I was laid off, and since then I have been looking," he said. "It's very difficult nowadays to find a job in a hospital environment."