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The Globe and Mail

For some regions, a low unemployment rate is the issue

Dozens lin up to register for the The National Job Fair & Training Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 2012.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

In some parts of Canada, it's a low unemployment rate that is causing concern.

"You're starting to wonder if you really got really busy, how many people would be there?" said Rick Jamieson, chief executive officer of ABS Friction, a company that makes brake pads in Guelph, Ont.

The unemployment rate in Mr. Jamieson's city was 5.7 per cent in May, well below the national average of 7.3 per cent recorded in Statistics Canada's latest jobs survey. These figures highlight the range in job market strength across the country. In Windsor, Ont., just a three-and-a-half hour drive from Guelph, unemployment is 9.7 per cent.

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The city of Guelph has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the eastern half of the country, beaten only by Quebec City, where the unemployment rate is 5.6 per cent. A handful of western cities also have relatively small unemployment: both Calgary and Edmonton have rates of 5 per cent, and Regina has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 4.1 per cent.

With Statistics Canada set to release unemployment figures tomorrow for June, Mr. Jamieson expects Guelph will still lead the way in terms of employment – good news for most, but somewhat worrisome for him.

With sales at ABS Friction up between 8 and 10 per cent compared with the same month last year, Mr. Jamieson said he might have to consider hiring more people if his business continues to do well for the rest of the year.

"[But] would there be enough employees?" he wonders. "That's what my worry is."

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