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A look at Durham’s shifting employment landscape

Durham business count recorded more than 1,000 businesses opening and closing in 2017

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The retail sector represents Durham’s largest employment demographic according to data collected by the region last year.

Durham Region’s business count is a municipal initiative with the goal of maintaining a comprehensive employee database and was conducted by a group of seven student employees last summer.

The students interviewed business owners face-to-face or by phone, and businesses could also provide information by mail, fax or online.

There were 12,364 businesses documented, including farms and home-based operations, accounting for 196,713 jobs, an increase of approximately 3,100 from 2016.

Sixty-four per cent of those jobs are full-time, 30 per cent part-time and six per cent seasonal.

According to regional data, the retail sector accounts for 17 per cent of Durham’s employment, followed by health services and social assistance at 13 per cent.

Manufacturing services represent only five per cent of all jobs, and two percent of all businesses documented.

In the past year, 1,055 new businesses opened and 1,004 closed.

In Oshawa, there were 2,968 businesses documented, up from 2,853 in 2016.

Of those, 1,995 employed 10 people or less, 706 between 11 to 100, and 75 employed more than 100 people.

These businesses encompassed 56,035 jobs, up more than 10,000 from the 2014 business count.

Thirty three-thousand of those jobs were full-time, about 59 per cent, while about 17,700 (32 per cent) were part-time.

Business locations surveyed include, but are not limited to, professional offices, stores, places of worship, hotels, medical offices, industrial facilities, farm operations, schools, government offices, hospitals, not-for-profit organizations, vacant commercial, industrial and institutional locations.

Data from the business count is used in planning studies, economic development forecasting, and economic development strategies.

2017 marked the sixth year of the Durham Region business count.