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Labour Force Profile - Statistics Canada collects labour force data for the Canadian population aged 15 and over, in the 15-24 year old (young adult) population, and the working age population, or those aged 25 or older. Between 2001 and 2006 the labour force in Perth County, grew by 1,060 people (or 2.6%). In both 2001 and 2006, Perth County has enjoyed higher participation and employment rates than Southwestern Ontario and the province. This finding holds true for both the population 15 to 24 years and 25 years and over.
In 2006, Perth County had an unemployment rate of 3.7%, which was lower than Southwestern Ontario (5.9%) and Ontario (6.4%). Recent weak economic conditions have contributed to higher unemployment rates, with rural areas being no exception. It is estimated that by 2010, the region's labour force will continue to grow, and unemployment rates will settle at 6.1%. While high, unemployment rates at the provincial level have been much higher. This suggests that Perth County has not been as badly impacted by the loss of manufacturing jobs, as in other parts of the province.
Population Growth - The region has experienced modest population growth in recent years. Statistics Canada reported that between 1996 and 2006, Perth County added 2,238 new residents, an increase of 3.1% over this ten year period. It is estimated that since 2009 Perth County has increased in population to reach 75,276 residents (a net increase of 932 residents or 1.3% growth).
Population by Age - In 2009, the largest segment of the population remains the 20-44 years of age (31.8%), but the proportion of the population 44-64 years of age has increased and population under 20 has decreased indicating an aging population base. The region's proportion of the population over 65 years of age also increased from 15.2% in 2006 to 15.5% in 2009.
Educational Attainment - In 2006, 23.9% of the population base in the region had attained college education, and 15.2%, had attained university education, which reflects the importance of the region's manufacturing sector. The population base has 10.4% who have attained an apprenticeship, which is a larger portion of the population in comparison to Southwestern Ontario (10.1%) and Ontario (8.8%). The Four County Labour Market Planning Board identifies that Perth County has a competitive advantage over Ontario with the higher rates of the population with an apprenticeship or trades certificate or college certificate.
The region benefits from being located within 75 km from at least one of the following post-secondary institutions: Conestoga College; Fanshawe College; the University of Waterloo; Wilfrid Laurier University; or University of Western Ontario. The proximity to these schools helps make post-secondary education more attainable for the population and enables the attraction of a workforce with higher education attainment levels.
Education by Major Field of Study - In Perth County, 18,815 residents between the ages of 25 and 64 that obtained post secondary education, the highest concentration by major field of study were in:
- Architecture, engineering, and related technologies (23.8%);
- Business, management and public administration (17.1%); and
- Health, parks, recreation and fitness (16.7%).
Overall, these three major fields account for over half (57.6%) of the individuals with post-secondary credentials in the region.
Household Income - Average household Income rates provide important information about the wealth generated or retained by the local population. The 2005 household results indicate the highest number of households have income levels in excess of $100,000 (17.6%). Household income levels in Perth County are also higher for the $30,000 to $59,999 segments than Southwestern Ontario and the Province. Median household income and average household income is also lower in Perth County than the Province of Ontario. This finding indicates a lower cost of living on larger purchases such as homes.
Commuter Flows - Based on the results of the place of work data provided by Statistics Canada (2006) the majority of residents work within Perth County. 6,975 people are employed in jobs in the County. An additional 3,635 are employed in Stratford and 750 are employed in St. Marys. 1,885 people commute out to work in the Waterloo Region. Other key destinations include Huron County, London, and Oxford County.