Thunder Bay

Target, Teleperformance closures cut nearly 400 jobs in Thunder Bay

Job losses resulting from the closure of the Target store and the Teleperformance call centre in Thunder Bay are part of an overall downward trend in employment in the city, a Lakehead University economics professor says.

Declining job opportunities in Thunder Bay part of national economic slowdown, economist says

Up to 200 people in Thunder Bay will lose their jobs when Target closes this spring. Now the Teleperformance call centre says it's closing in April, laying off 160 workers. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

Job losses resulting from the closure of the Target store and the Teleperformance call centre in Thunder Bay are part of an overall downward trend in employment in the city, a Lakehead University economics professor says.

Livio DiMatteo says Thunder Bay has lost more than 3,000 jobs in the last 18 months. (Lakehead University )
​Teleperformance announced earlier this week that it is shuttering its Thunder Bay, Ont., call centre. About 160 people will be laid off by April 20, the company said. The deadline for Target to vacate its store is May 15, a move that will put up to 200 people out of work.

Employment numbers have remained relatively stable in Thunder Bay over the last decade, Livio Di Matteo said, but have declined substantially from 63,500 in the summer of 2013 to 60,300 currently.

"So several thousand jobs do seem to have quietly declined," Di Matteo said. "I mean, they go up and the go down, but the overall trend has been down over the last year and a half."

A few hundred jobs were lost in the first month of the year in Thunder Bay, even before the most recent closures, he said. 

The situation in Thunder Bay is reflective of a national slowdown in the economy, Di Matteo said, adding that cut backs in the Alberta oil sector will be felt in the city.

The oil patch has "done a lot for the city's economy" with residents commuting to jobs there, he said.

Ideally another large 'national tenant' would fill the space vacated by Target at the Intercity Shopping Centre and provide new jobs, Di Matteo said.

But given the current economic outlook across the country, he doubts that will happen quickly.

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