Niagara Region is located in southern Ontario, Canada, between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie with a population of 427,421. Niagara region is comprised of 12 municipalities including, Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Thorold, Wainfleet, Welland, and West Lincoln. As of April 2011, unemployment in Niagara region is at 9.8 percent. Jobs in Niagara and much of the region's population are concentrated in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Welland.
According the Niagara Workforce Planning Board, trend data indicates that Niagara has continued to face significant challenges in managing the jobs in Niagara Region - especially in the manufacturing sector. Sectors such as health care, agriculture and service-based industries have sustained moderate growth since the recent recession. Due to smaller enterprises emerging to compete in highly specialized niche markets, the manufacturing sector continues to change. Jobs in Niagara Region will see growth in specific economic areas such as green technology, biotech or computer-related fields.
A majority of the jobs in Niagara Region were in retail & wholesale trade, health care & social assistance and manufacturing sectors - all sectors alone representing 40% of the jobs in Niagara Region. From the years of 1999-2009 health care & social assistance, construction, accommodation & food services, and education have had the largest increase in the number of jobs in Niagara Region. The top three companies with the largest number of jobs in Niagara Region include the District School Boards of Niagara, Niagara Fallsview Casino, and the Niagara Health System, respectively. Other top employers include General Motors, Brock University, and Canadian Tire Financial Services.
According the NWPB, Niagara Region has traditionally been anchored to a small number of large manufacturers and as such, manufacturing is still important to the number of jobs in Niagara Region. However, the nature of manufacturing is changing as it moves from a small number of large companies to a larger number of small and medium-sized enterprises. To emphasise, most of the growth in the number of jobs in Niagara Region will be occurring in health care & social assistance, construction, and accommodation & food services. Thus, as the economy shifts, so will the demand for new skills, knowledgeable workers and access to technology.