As the economy slowly rebounds from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and people continue to look for work, a new Cape Breton Partnership initiative known as the Job Board hopes to connect job seekers with employers in Cape Breton.
The onset of the only tool comes as a Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows the total number of employees in Nova Scotia at an estimated 455,700 as of September — 15,300 less than in February and before pandemic related impacts.
The survey shows sharp employment decreases in March (-24.800) and April (-50,600) before employment numbers increased by 8,600 in May.
Notable rises came in in June (28,900) and then increases of 3,500, 7,200 and 1,200 in July, August and September.
Across Atlantic Canada employment numbers also took a nosedive in March and April in all regions but have been slowly on the uptick from May through September.
“I think I would say that as the world continues to open, as businesses begin to resume, particularly here locally with the Atlantic bubble, we are seeing lots of businesses return to operations so certainly the need is there for employers,” said Carla Arsenault, president and CEO Partnership about the Job Board.
“They are continuing to look for workers and we know there are lots of Cape Bretoners that are still looking for that right opportunity. We certainly also know there are people, Cape Bretoners and others in Canada and other places in the world, who are looking to Cape Breton for jobs, as well.”
The Statistics Canada survey shows that service jobs represented the largest loss of employment in April, impacting 41,100 Nova Scotians. That industry’s return to work numbers jumped in June when 26,100 were hired across Nova Scotia. Still, the service industry remains hardest hit by the pandemic with 9,800 job losses since February.
The transportation industry saw 2,200 job losses noted in April and May and 2,100 jobs added in June. Overall, transportation remained down more than 1,000 jobs from February.
Other sectors in Nova Scotia that suffered job losses from February to September included wholesale (11,300), accommodation and food service sector (6,400), goods-producing (5,500), agriculture (700), forestry (800), construction (1,200) and manufacturing (3,100). The information, culture and recreation sectors were also down by 2,700 jobs over the same period.
Utilities employers in Nova Scotia were among those hiring and 500 jobs were added over the same period, the public sector added 600, and healthcare was up by 1,500 jobs.
There were 1,400 jobs added in finance, insurance and real estate, between February and September, while the professional, scientific and technical sector added 2,500 jobs over the same reference period.
The Cape Breton online Job Board initiative was launched in August after various spring job fairs in Cape Breton were cancelled due to pandemic related precautions. Arsenault said those fairs were set to bring 30 employers together who were looking to fill 300 positions in a mix of seasonal and non-seasonal employment in tourism and professional occupations.
There are still employers looking for employment around Cape Breton.
“They are continuing to look for workers and we know there are lots of Cape Bretoners that are still looking for that right opportunity." — Carla Arsenault, president and CEO Cape Breton Partnership
Walmart’s Sydney River location held a job fair for all positions on Friday and Glace Bay’s Ka’ Le Bay Seafoods Ltd. is actively searching for workers, including 10 positions to fill immediately.
As for the partnership job board, Seaside Communications, Nova Scotia Works, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Protocase, Navigate Startup House, Membertou First Nation and East Coast Credit Union all have jobs listed there.
While the Cape Breton Partnership job board’s main focus has been filling available jobs on the island, it has also become an immigration tool, specifically as an online place to direct those considering a move to Cape Breton.
“We’ve never had a place to send them to look for job postings and we only had national databases available to us like Indeed and Career Beacon and so on,” Arsenault said. “There was not a Cape Breton site and if we are working with international candidates in different places around the world and we send them to a national job bank, often they end up looking at places like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and don’t choose Cape Breton.”
Currently, 50 employers are verified users of the tool and there were 10 active listings as of Friday, a majority of which are high skilled occupations.
In September, capebretonjobboard.com received 3,4000 views of its active job postings at the time. That’s a number Arsenault expects to grow as more employers use the tool and job seekers learn more about it.