Part 3 – Region of Peel

Analysis of Economic Performance: January – December 2016

Overview of Performance

The year 2016 marked another positive year for the economy of Peel Region as reflected by changes in key economic indicators. According to the 2016 census, the total population (without undercount) in Peel Region increased by 6.8 per cent between 2011 and 2016 to 1.38 million persons. Sustained increase in Peel’s population continued to support another year of growth for Peel’s total taxable assessment base.

Positive changes dominated Peel’s economic performance in 2016

Peel’s business sector remained strong at over 100,000 business establishments in 2016 and they continued to provide a variety of employment opportunities for its residents. This helped to support continued growth in Peel’s labour market during the year. For the second consecutive year, total employment in Peel’s labour market increased and Peel’s unemployment rate fell from 7.7 per cent in 2015 to 7.3 per cent in 2016. Peel’s employment rate, which describes the proportion of working age population who are employed, also improved in 2016 to reach 63.6 per cent, its highest level in six years.

Indicators of activities in Peel’s construction sector were less positive as building permits and housing starts declined.  The decline in building permits reflected the effects of updates to Regional Development Charges (DC) By-Law. However, Peel’s resale housing market remained vibrant, registering a stronger increase in sales than the GTA average, while registering a more moderate increase in the average price per unit. As such, Peel maintained its position as one of the most price competitive locations in the GTA. This is expected to add to Peel’s attractiveness as a desirable destination for residents and businesses. In addition, Peel continues to benefit from well-known strategic advantages such as its location in the strongest economic hub of Canada, its well-developed transportation network as well as its young and highly educated population.

Lingering challenges in Peel but long term growth prospects remain positive

Amidst the positive changes observed in Peel’s economy in 2016, some challenges continued to linger.  More Peel residents entered the labour market and found jobs, and Peel’s unemployment rate declined. However, the percentage of the working age population in Peel who are in the labour market (participation rate) or those employed (employment rate) remained below pre-recession levels. This suggests that the pace of job creation remained below the level required to cater for the increase in Peel’s working age population who have entered the labour market in search of work since the recession. This may have contributed to the elevated levels of social assistance, as reflected in continued growth in Peel’s Ontario Works (OW) caseloads.

Notwithstanding the lingering challenges, Peel continues to grow and remains well positioned for growth. Current infrastructural development will continue to build on existing ones to provide a key requirement for future growth. The recent announcement of funding for a new university in Brampton represents a broadening of investment opportunities in Peel. This will help to strengthen Peel’s economy and help in the creation of a more diversified economic base that will help to reduce vulnerability to future economic shocks. As the economy strengthens, Peel’s population is expected to continue to grow to reach approximately 1.77 million persons by 2031 and just under 2.0 million by 2041.

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