Economic and Business Update – May 2024

Highlights

  • The Consumer Price Index rose 2.9 per cent year-over-year in March following a 2.8 per cent increase in February.
  • The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.1 per cent in April.
  • Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.2 per cent in February.
  • The Vaughan Business and Entrepreneurship Centre experienced demand for consultations in other services, retail trade, and professional scientific and technical services in April.
  • Martinrea announces investment in Equispheres Inc. for additive manufacturing of high-performance powders.
  • Woodbridge Foam Group announces joint venture with TM Automotive Seating Systems to produce innovative seating systems.

SELECT Economic Indicators

The Consumer Price Index rose 2.9 per cent year-over-year in March following a 2.8 per cent increase in February.

The national Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.9 per cent year-over-year in March following a 2.8 per cent increase in February. In Ontario, the CPI rose 2.6 per cent year-over-year in March after a 2.4 per cent year-over-year increase in February.

Gasoline prices rose 4.5 per cent in March following a 0.8 per cent increase in February. Higher global prices for crude oil in March were due to supply concerns amid geopolitical conflict and continued voluntary production. Supply issues are also common in the spring as demand for vehicle travel increases as temperatures begin to warm.

Shelter prices continue to put pressures on the CPI with a 6.5 per cent increase year-over-year in March, rising at the same rate as a month prior. Rental prices continued to climb in March rising 8.5 percent year-over-year following an 8.2 per cent increase in February. Among many factors, higher interest rates are creating significant barriers towards homeownership, and additional pressure on landowners whose housing costs are changing due to higher interest rates.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.1 per cent in April.

The national employment rate held steady at 61.4 per cent in April. The unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 6.1 per cent. Employment gains in April were primarily driven by part-time employment. Employment increased across multiple sectors in April including professional, scientific and technical services (+26,000; +1.3 per cent), accommodation and food services (+24,000; +2.2 per cent), health care and social assistance (+17,000; +0.6 per cent) and natural resources (+7,700; +2.3 per cent).

Employment gains in April were primarily seen in core-aged men and women as well as male youth. For the third consecutive month employment rose for core-aged men in April. For core-aged women employment increased by 27,000 and was driven primarily by part-time work.  Despite the increase, more core-aged women worked full-time compared to 12 months earlier.

Youth employment in April increased by 40,000 and marked the first major increase since December 2022. The youth employment rate in April (55.5 per cent) was up 0.5 percentage points from March but was down 3.7 percentage points compared with the same month in 2023.

Ontario’s unemployment rate increased 0.1 per cent in December to 6.8 per cent, while unemployment in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) – which includes Vaughan – increased 0.1 per cent to 7.9 per cent.

Average hourly wages among employees increased 4.7 per cent (+$1.57 to $34.95) on a year-over-year basis in April, following growth of 5.1 per cent in March (not seasonally adjusted).

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.2 per cent in February.

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased nationally by 0.2 per cent in February. Growth in February was seen in 12 of 20 sectors. Goods-producing industries were unchanged in February with the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector expanding while the utilities and manufacturing sectors contracted.

Transportation and warehousing increased 1.4 per cent in February. This was the largest monthly increase since January 2023. Six of nine subsectors increased with rail transportation (5.5 per cent) contributing the most to February’s increase.

Manufacturing experienced a 0.4 per cent decline in February, partly due to a decrease in transportation manufacturing. Sub-sector declines in transportation equipment manufacturing and motor vehicle manufacturing were the largest contributors to this month’s declines partly due to continued retooling activities at several major automotive plants.

Advance information indicates that real GDP was essentially unchanged in March. Increases in utilities and real estate and rental and leasing were offset by decreases in manufacturing and retail trade.


LOCAL TRENDS, INVESTMENTS, AND SUCCESS STORIES

The Vaughan Business and Entrepreneurship Centre experienced demand for consultations in other services, retail trade, and professional scientific and technical services in April.

Economic Developments Small Business and Entrepreneurship top five industries seeking consultations in March were:

  1. Other services (33 per cent)
  2. Retail trade (10 per cent)
  3. Professional technical and scientific services (10 per cent)
  4. Health care and social assistance (8 per cent)
  5. Information and Cultural Industries (5 per cent)
Martinrea announces investment in Equispheres Inc. for additive manufacturing of high-performance powders.

Martinrea International, a diversified global automotive supplier headquartered in Vaughan, recently announced the investment in Equispheres Inc. a supplier of additive manufacturing materials. The investment by Martinrea will support Equispheres’ development of advanced materials such as high-performance aluminum powder for additive manufacturing applications in the automotive sector.

Vaughan is home to many globally recognized tier-one suppliers, including Magna International, Martinrea, Multimatic, Hanon Systems, Litens Automotive, IAC and Woodbridge Foam Corporation, as well as numerous tier-two and tier-three suppliers. The city’s central location is in direct proximity to assembly plants for giants such as Stellantis, Ford, Honda and Toyota, where businesses can plug into a strong and well-connected supply chain.

The automotive sector in Vaughan makes up a large part of the advanced manufacturing cluster in the city, contributing $4 billion in real gross domestic product to Vaughan’s economy in 2022. Vaughan’s automotive sector is comprised of over 660 sector-related businesses employing more than 13,600 people.

Woodbridge Foam Group announces joint venture with TM Automotive Seating Systems to produce innovative seating systems.

Vaughan-based automotive parts manufacturer Woodbridge Foam Group recently entered into a joint venture with TM Automotive Seating Systems. TM Automotive Seating Systems is an Indian-based automotive part manufacturer specializing in complex seating systems. The joint venture titled TMWB Foam Private Limited based in Pune, India will focus on delivering innovative seating systems to commercial vehicles manufacturers around the world.