Briefing Note on the Manufacturing Jobs at Risk in Niagara from the COVID-19 Coronavirus – April 29, 2020

Posted in News, COVID-19

Briefing Note on the Manufacturing Jobs at Risk in Niagara from the COVID-19 Coronavirus – April 29, 2020

As part of NWPB’s ongoing effort to provide updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this briefing note outlines the known and potential employment impacts of the virus on the manufacturing sector.

Data from the Niagara COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, which collected data between March 20, 2020 and March 30, 2020 provides timely insight on COVID-19’s impacts on manufacturing.[1] Within this survey, 133 manufacturing employers were asked if COVID-19 affected their business, 95.5% reported it had. When asked if COVID-19 had led to staffing reductions, 55.4% of 121 responding employers noted that they had reduced their workforce. Taking into account all employees for responding manufacturing employers, staff reductions affected approximately 19.9% of full-time employees and 27.7% of part-time employees.

At this time, it is likely that these are not job losses for Niagara. Rather, they are temporary staffing reductions amid an unexpected and atypical business climate. If this climate continues over months or years, it will become more likely that businesses will permanently close or radically restructure their operations. If this were to occur, the current staffing reductions will translate to job losses.

The balance of this briefing note reports on the most recent job counts in manufacturing as a means of establishing the maximum potential impact that COVID-19 could have on this sector.

Niagara housed an estimated 15,480 manufacturing jobs in the 2019 calendar year, including both full-time and part-time jobs. These jobs represent 8.3% of Niagara’s 2019 total job count.

Largest Manufacturing Sectors 2019 Jobs Percentage of Manufacturing Jobs
Transportation equipment manufacturing 2,303 14.9%
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 2,057 13.3%
Food manufacturing 1,762 11.4%
Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing 1,689 10.9%
Machinery manufacturing 1,564 10.1%
Sector Subtotal 9,376 60.6%
Manufacturing Total 15,480

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.3 dataset, employees, selected manufacturing subsectors represent at least 10% of local job demand in manufacturing. 2019 data are based on a mathematical extrapolation of partial 2019 data.


Niagara also housed 1,101 self-employed jobs in manufacturing. Self-employed individuals are generally at a greater risk of financial instability amid uncertain economic conditions. These jobs represent 3.4% of total self-employment jobs in Niagara in 2019.

Largest Manufacturing Subsectors: Self-Employment 2018 Jobs Percentage of Manufacturing Self-Employment
Miscellaneous manufacturing 308 27.9%
Food manufacturing 169 15.3%
Furniture and related product manufacturing 152 13.8%
Sector subtotal 629 57.1%
Self-Employed Manufacturing Total 1,101

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.3 dataset, self-employed, selected manufacturing subsectors represent at least 10% of local job demand in manufacturing. 2019 data are based on a mathematical extrapolation of partial 2019 data.



Combining data for employed and self-employment jobs show that Niagara housed 16,581 manufacturing jobs in the 2019 calendar year. These jobs represent approximately 7.6% of all jobs, both in traditional employment and self-employment, in Niagara.

Largest Manufacturing Sectors: Employed and Self-Employed 2018 Jobs Percentage of Manufacturing Jobs
Transportation equipment manufacturing 2,306 13.9%
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 2,143 12.9%
Food manufacturing 1,931 11.6%
Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing 1,736 10.5%
Machinery manufacturing 1,621 9.8%
Subtotal 9,738 58.7%
Manufacturing Total 16,581

Source: EMSI Analyst, 2019.3 dataset, employed and self-employed, selected manufacturing subsectors represent at least 9% of local job demand in manufacturing. 2019 data are based on a mathematical extrapolation of partial 2019 data.


Once again, these data represent a maximum potential for job impact within manufacturing. It does not follow that all people working in these jobs will be laid off or see employment disruption due to COVID-19.

NWPB will continue to work with our partners across Niagara to provide insights and updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A second delivery of the Niagara COVID-19 Business Impact Survey will likely provide additional insights on potential business closures in Niagara, as well as potentially identify manufacturing subsectors that have been able to endure this disruption. These and other data sources, such as the updated labour force survey data on May 8, 2020, will serve as indicators of potential long-term job losses in Niagara.


What to do in Uncertain Times


The coming months are likely to prove challenging for all Niagara residents. Individuals experiencing employment disruptions can access resources and support from Niagara’s Employment Ontario service providers. Contact information for a service provider near you can be found through this link.

For all other inquiries please contact Vivian Kinnaird.


[1]: These data are derived from the Niagara COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, which was delivered by the Niagara Economic Rapid Response Team. NWPB gratefully acknowledges the efforts of Niagara’s twelve municipalities and the Regional Municipality of Niagara in delivering this survey.



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