New report offers a good news/bad news look at Hamilton’s economic health

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Hamilton is experiencing a “Renaissance”, but it is not benefitting all

By Bill Dunphy

A new look at the latest economic and social data shows that Hamilton is indeed enjoying something of an economic renaissance, bouncing back from the 2009 recession faster than most Canadian cities.

Unemployment is down (we had the fifth lowest rate in Canada in August), we have the hottest housing market in the country, our social assistance caseloads are down, young adults are flocking to our downtown, commercial development is growing, and the Conference Board of Canada says we have the most diversified economy in the country.

 

But, the Hamilton Community Foundation’s Vital Signs 2015 report warns, that renaissance is leaving some people behind – and causing new problems that threaten the city’s slowly growing prosperity.

Hot real estate translates to higher rents – Hamilton had the highest average rent hike, 4.1 per cent, of any major city in Ontario last year. Similarly, vacancies have plummeted from 2014’s easygoing 4.5 per cent to a dangerously tight 1.8 per cent this year.

“There is real momentum in Hamilton, clearly,” says Sara Mayo of the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton and the author of the Vital Signs 2015 report.

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