Jobs Problem For Windsor-Essex

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is pointing out the mixed bag of results for the local economy in a new report.

The local chamber in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce hosted a roundtable event with local businesses and government leaders Wednesday morning to discuss the Ontario Economic Report.

It expects the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 6.5 per cent this year in Windsor.

Local chamber president Matt Marchand says business owners are facing two big challenges right now.

"Of course number one is the import costs electricity costs.  Costs of the carbon tax and on top of that, jobs without people and people without jobs.  We estimated in the Windsor-Essex area, it's about $600-million and the provincial number is $24-billion," says Marchand.

Marchand says there are jobs without people and people without jobs.

"We have got a lot of folks looking for jobs and we have a lot of employers looking for people.  For some reason they haven't been able to make the connection.  Part of it is a skills mismatch and there are other factors like transportation," says Marchand.

He says another concern is the falling participation rate.

"That's a conundrum that we are going to have to face locally.  People of working age that aren't working are declining and are at a 15 year low in the participation rate.  At the same time, the unemployment rate is also falling.  We think there are some folks that have been left behind in the economic rebound and we are going to be looking at that," says Marchand.

He points out another concern is the decline in exports which affects border cities like Windsor. 

Ontario used to export about 50 percent of what it produces and now sits at about 35 per cent.