Posted January 18, 2023

The Carillon – Employment in Steinbach Finding Stability

Written by Nicole Buffie

Steinbach’s head of economic development is optimistic about the labour market in city and the southeast region, largely thanks to newcomers filling employment gaps and outside investment eyeing the city.

New numbers released by Statistics Canada show employment in Manitoba was up one percent in December, the third increase in four months and 0.5 percent higher than the national average for the same period.

The province’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.4 percent, a decrease from 5.1 percent in December 2019.

Michelle Bezditny, director of economic development for the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, said employment vacancies that are present in the city are largely being filled by immigrant workers.

Data shows businesses are operating at an approximate 80 percent capacity in Steinbach.

“Newcomers who are coming into our region are employable and are filling some of the gaps,” Bezditny said, adding the incorporation of automation is assisting some to achieve a 100 percent workforce.

Data compiled by Eastman Immigrant Services show the organization assisted 483 newcomers between April – October 2022, nearly four times the number they assisted in the 2021 fiscal year.

Yet, despite the worker shortage, things are still running smoothly in the city, Bezditny said.

“Steinbach hasn’t necessarily felt the impact of the ebbs and flows of other communities regarding economic development because our economy is quite diverse,” she said, noting the pillars of Steinbach’s economy — agribusiness, manufacturing and logistics — hasn’t felt the pinch of the pandemic as much as other areas.

Since coming into the role of director of economic development at the chamber, a switch from her tenure as executive director, Bezditny has been responsible for showcasing the city as an attractive place to work and play. Bezditny said because of the city’s economic stability foreign investments are eyeing the city as their future home.

She’s also been in talks with educational institutions to help bridge gaps in qualifications the business community is seeing in the workforce.

“Human capital is definitely finding stability,” she said. “That is when our businesses can maintain, grow, expand within, in conjunction with attracting outside investment.”

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