Ottawa bucks national unemployment trend; housing market continues to heat up
OTTAWA -- The new job numbers for Canada are bleak, as Canada’s unemployment rate has risen to its highest level since the summer.
The job losses last month were almost entirely concentrated in Ontario and Quebec — but the numbers in Ottawa are very different.
"I never thought I would be 50-years-old starting my job search again," said Heather Donovan who has lost her job during the pandemic.
After 12 years working in the library at CHEO, she is now on the job hunt.
"I’ve sent out 22 resumes and job applications and in that time I haven't had any call back, no interest," said Donovan Friday afternoon. "I’m very concerned about my future, there just does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel."
Shortly after the story aired on CTV News at Six, Donovan messaged us to say she received two job offers Friday evening.
According to Statistics Canada, the economy lost 213,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent. The losses now put Canada 850,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.
Ontario and Quebec, where lockdown measures were imposed, have been the hardest hit.
"It falls disproportionally on women, minorities and young people, that’s what the stats from StatsCan show, it was the part-time service sector an the closed down sectors that were hit," said economist Ian Lee.
But locally, it’s a different story — the unemployment rate in Ottawa actually dropped 0.3 per cent to 6.5 per cent. The local economy added more than 10,000 jobs in January.
"Ottawa is overwhelmingly driven by the economy of the broader public sector, and the public sector has not been effected to the same degree," said Lee.
Booming housing market
As Ottawa’s economy holds on, the housing market in the capital is booming.
"We’re going through one of the craziest markets I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in real estate since 2004," said Paul Rushforth from Paul Rushforth Real Estate.
Last month, the number of homes sold in the capital increased by 24 per cent and home prices rose 31 per cent, compared to January 2020. The average price of a home in the capital has climbed to over $670,000.
"Pent up buyer demand, lack of inventory, so we have so much demand on what we have on the market and record low interest rate makes it that perfect storm I guessing," said Rushforth.
For those looking to buy or sell, the experience can be overwhelming.
"There’s no time to think, you have to be very knowledgeable about the market and about home buying, but you have to act fast or you won’t get a house," said Shelly Creswell, who bought a new home and sold her home in November.
Some experts predict the housing market could continue like this for up to 18 months.
However, the Ottawa Real Estate Board cautions the pandemic and lockdown measures could affect the market through the winter and into the spring.