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Hamilton Economic Development

The place to be: No. 5 in nation for jobs, wage

Study: City is a premier location for labour

Regina has topped Hamilton — but in the labour market, not on the football field.

A new study ranks Hamilton as one of the top five labour markets in Canada, placing Hamilton as fifth and Regina in the top spot.

In addition, Hamilton is the only eastern Canadian city in the top five, ranked well ahead of Toronto, Kitchener and London.

Prepared by the Bank of Montreal’s economics section, the report ranks cities as labour destinations based on median income, unemployment rate, employment growth and housing costs.

“What really sets Hamilton apart is your lower housing cost,” said economist Robert Kavcic, author of the study. “Your high incomes and low unemployment are also attractive.”

Kavcic’s figures show Hamilton boasting a median income of $69,900 compared to $70,500 in Regina, an average year-to-date unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent compared to 3.5 and average home prices of $381,000 compared to $311,400 in Regina.

However, the study found the city’s employment growth lagging much of the country.

Employment here fell 1.2 per cent over the last year. Regina posted employment gains of 6 per cent over the year.

Kavcic cautioned against putting too much stock in the Hamilton employment number, warning employment figures can swing wildly in smaller markets where changes at one employer can have a major impact.

One factor shaping employment growth in Hamilton, he added, may be those low housing prices because they attract people who live here but work elsewhere.

“Some of what’s happening in Hamilton may be related to people commuting to Toronto,” Kavcic said. “People are finding they can commute into Toronto and enjoy a much better home in Hamilton.”

Filling out the top five labour markets are western powerhouses Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon. Toronto placed ninth, Kitchener tenth and London seventeenth.

The study notes the movement of workers between markets and provinces has hit its highest level in 25 years. The biggest force drawing people from one part of the country to another is the prospect of finding a job.

“While there are winners and losers, a mobile labour force isn’t necessarily a bad thing to the extent that resources are directed to where they are needed most,” Kavcic said in a news release.

The movement of people following jobs also has impacts on the markets they leave and the ones they enter, affecting consumer spending, the housing market, the availability of skilled labour and even the finances of provinces.

The movement of younger people following jobs has the effect of raising the average age in provinces they leave, pushing down tax receipts while increasing demands for health care.

In western Canada, for example, surging population growth pushed retail sales up 6.4 per cent in Alberta and 3.3 per cent in Saskatchewan. At the same time demand for housing in Alberta has sparked a sellers’ market while homebuilding in Saskatchewan has hit a 30-year high.

Wage rates are also affecting the movement of people. The study notes that where wages in Ontario used to average $2 an hour more than in Alberta in the 1990s they are now $4 an hour lower.

Article courtesy of Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator.

Dofasco brightens a bleak week for steel

Hamilton steel giant Dofasco anchors the harbou's east endHamilton giant ships more high-quality product in Q3 than it ever has

ArcelorMittal Dofasco shipped more of its prime high-quality steel in the third quarter of 2013 than it ever has before.

The company shipped 1.128 million net tons of prime steel between June and September.

Prime steel or “firsts” is the steel that meets all customer specifications, right down to thousandths of a millimetre in thickness and parts per million in chemistry. Steel that does not meet that standard is sold as “seconds.”

In a news release late Thursday, the Hamilton operation said it also expects 2013 full-year shipments to be a record for the second year in a row.

The news is a ray of light in what has been a dark week for the steel industry in Hamilton — U.S. Steel announced Oct. 29 that it is ending a century of steelmaking at its Hamilton Works plant.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco says it achieved the record at a time when its domestic market has been shrinking as manufacturers leave to produce in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere. The Canadian market remains 20 per cent lower than the peak market of 2006.

“Hitting a shipment record like this in a much smaller market is a major achievement,” said Brad Davey, vice-president, commercial.

The prime steel is destined for the automotive, construction, appliances and packaging sectors, along with steel service centres.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been ranked No. 1 for overall customer satisfaction against its direct competitors in the largest North American independent survey.

Davey said the company is dedicated to continuous improvement to drive innovation and boost productivity and efficiency.

“We continue to invest and innovate in order to meet our customers’ needs and to produce increasingly sophisticated steels … including those that are contributing to achieving more fuel efficient cars and sustainable buildings,” he said.

“Our future is bright and so is that of steelmaking in Hamilton. Steel is part of Hamilton’s DNA and manufacturing is a foundation to any successful economy.”

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal cited an improving world economy when it announced a smaller third-quarter loss Thursday. The world’s largest steelmaker said it had a net loss of $193 million in the third quarter, a substantial reduction from the $652 million it lost in the same period last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — or EBITDA, a metric followed closely in the steel industry — increased by 19 per cent to $1.7 billion, and steel shipments rose 6 per cent, although revenues declined slightly to $19.6 billion.

“We believe the bottom of the cycle is behind us,” said Lakshmi Mittal, the company’s chief executive. “As economic indicators are improving we are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2014.”

Sales in the North American flat steel division, which includes Dofasco, were up about 2 per cent to $4.9 billion, while EBITDA rose 68 per cent to $547 million. ArcelorMittal Dofasco is the largest producer of flat rolled steels in Canada.

The company’s Hamilton operation employs 5,200 and produces about 4.5 million net tons of steel a year.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco is also celebrating a World Steel Association award.

The company won in the Innovation of the Year category for its automated steelmaking process. This six-year project makes Dofasco home to the most automated basic oxygen furnace in the world, according to the company.

The project’s goal was to increase output of ultra-low carbon and advanced high-strength steels to meet future market demand.

“To have the most automated basic oxygen furnace in the world and the first such furnace that does not require manual sampling of the hot metal is a tremendous achievement,” said Sean Donnelly, vice-president manufacturing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Donnelly said Hamilton staff are helping introduce the technology at other plants.

The World Steel Association includes 170 company members that represent 85 per cent of the world’s steel production.

Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton Highlights Newsletter – November 2013

In the November, 2013 edition of Hamilton Highlights…

  • Hamilton Economic Development Wins National Award
  • Investments Big and Small in Recent Days
  • New Investment Lure Video Released
  • New Mentorship Program in Hamilton
  • investinhamilton.ca Gets a Refresh

Click here to read the November 2013 Hamilton Highlights newsletter.  If you are interested in signing up for the Hamilton Highlights newsletter, click here.

Hamilton Highlights Newsletter – September 2013

In the September 2013 edition of Hamilton Highlights…

  • Hamilton tops the nation…again!
  • Site Selector App Now Available
  • HiveX
  • Lion’s Lair – a celebration of entrepreneurship in Hamilton

Click here to read the September 2013 Hamilton Highlights newsletter.  If you are interested in signing up for the Hamilton Highlights newsletter, click here.

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