Pandemic impact pegged as factor in rural job declines

GUELPH-ERMAOSA – A new Rural Ontario Institute fact sheet on the economic consequences of the pandemic shutdown paints a stark picture of the local employment scene. However, the study notes that job losses in rural and small town areas have been tracking at about half the rate of large urban centres.

Released May 12, the fact sheet measures the economic impact based on employment losses in Ontario between February and April 2020. It shows employment trending down by 7.8 per cent in rural areas compared to about 16 per cent in larger centres, However, the institute notes that year-over-year comparisons provide a different perspective of rural and urban declines, falling much closer to each other in scale at 10.4% rural and 11.3% urban.

“This longer term comparison accounts for typical April job growth from seasonal employment change that hasn’t materialized in rural areas this year,” ROI officials state.

At the national level, the rural percent decline from February to April 2020 was largest in the sectors of accommodation and food services (-50.1%), information, culture and recreation (-43.7%) and in the forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas sector (-23.5%).

The findings also show that, just like Canada as a whole, rural Ontario females are experiencing the brunt of the job loss more than rural men.  This likely reflects both their sectorial and occupational roles, the institute points out.

More information on the study can be found at