This fact sheet release is about the economic consequences of the pandemic shutdown as measured by employment losses between February and April 2020. It paints a stark picture but for rural Ontario stakeholders there may also be a sense of relief in that the losses in Rural and Small Town Areas have only been tracking at half that of the Larger Urban Centres (i.e. -7.8 % RST vs -16 % LUC). However, year over year comparisons provide a different perspective of rural and urban declines which looked at in this way fall much closer to each other in scale (- 10.4 RST and -11.3 LUC). This longer term comparison accounts for typical April job growth from seasonal employment change that hasn’t materialized in rural areas this year.
There is also a gender dimension to the data. The findings show that just like Canada as a whole rural Ontario females are experiencing the brunt of the job loss more than are rural men. This likely reflects both their sectoral and occupational roles.
As avid readers of our fact sheet series will know we typically keep the data description short and sweet limited to 2 pages along with a bullet point summary of the key findings for those who don’t have the time to pore over data tables. For this special COVID edition we are still providing the key findings in bullet format but have added a number of data tables. We think this is warranted with our lives and attention so consumed with figuring out how society can bounce back from the COVID 19 economic shutdowns and physical distancing ramifications. This fact sheet gives us a clearer sense of how far we would have to go for any renaissance to take us back to where we were on the job front.
There is also much more in the extra data tables by way of inter-provincial comparisons and we think this is also very important because we know the stages of lifting restrictions will be implemented differently in different provinces. The data reveals that provincial rural impacts have been at diverse extremes with rural Quebec experiencing much deeper job loss than urban areas. So when we consider policy responses to COVID 19 and possible financial interventions it makes sense that programs that enable different regional economic support strategies would reflect the different realities across the country and within provinces.
You can read this special issue at: https://www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/knowledge-centre/focus-on-rural-ontario#2019. As always, ROI welcomes questions, comments and discussion of the Fact Sheets. Please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.