According to Halton’s most recent economic update, the region’s unemployment rate in the second quarter of this year (April-June) was 4 per cent – significantly below the region’s five year average unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. That’s great news and an indication that Halton Region’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy is right on track. The number of Halton residents participating in the labour market was 74.5 per cent, edging up from 74.4 percent in the previous quarter and higher than the 70.5 per cent during the same quarter in 2013.
On November 16, 2011, Regional Council approved the 10-year Halton Region Economic Development Strategy, followed by an implementation plan on December 14, 2011. These documents guide Halton Region Economic Development – in partnership with our Local Municipal partners in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville – in the fulfilment of the Region’s vision for economic development by 2021.
While we are less than half way through the life of the strategy, I am pleased to report that we are well on our way to achieving our vision by 2021 that Halton will be a preferred location for innovative businesses and entrepreneurs who need highly skilled talent, quality infrastructure and a positive business environment in order to contribute to sustainable regional economic prosperity.
Profit Magazine’s 2014 Profit 500 ranking of Canada’s fastest growing companies includes 15 Halton companies, including Burlington-based Life Science Nutritionals Inc. (#2), ECS Coffee Inc. (#69) and EcoSynthetix Inc. (#77) and Oakville-based Dynamic Connections Inc. (#88).
Building permit value in Halton rose 40 per cent in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2013. This was a result of a resurgence in industrial investment activity (78 per cent increase). Halton’s commercial retail and office permit value also rose 11 per cent from the same time last year.
Over the past year, Halton Region’s Economic Development team has implemented new website content to support business investment location decisions, a target sector prioritization project to guide proactive investment attraction efforts and an online campaign promoting Halton as one of the best places to do business in Canada to domestic and international investment influencers.
Halton’s small business centre launched a new young entrepreneur program Starter Company this past April, providing youth aged 18 – 29 with training, business skills development, mentoring from local business leaders and grant capital to help start, grow or buy a small business. And the Region’s Tourism team released tourism and cycling maps.
Halton Region’s Economic Development team is working hard to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. The team will provide a complete report on its progress in achieving the Strategic Implementation Plan early in 2015. I am confident that our progress is right on schedule.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”