WINDSOR, ONT -- The final month of 2020 saw fewer jobs and fewer job-seekers as lockdowns put a freeze on businesses in Windsor-Essex.

On Friday, Workforce Windsor-Essex released its Labour Market Insights report which painted a bleak picture for the region.

“The labour force numbers are really discouraging,” said Justin Falconer, CEO of the labour force research agency. “They’re down across the board.”

Windsor-Essex moved through the ‘Red-Control’ and then ‘Grey-Lockdown’ phases of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework of public health restrictions before a province-wide lockdown began on Dec. 26.

Falconer says the turbulent month depressed labour force numbers to a concerning level.

“With the ‘Grey-Lockdown’ we’re certainly seeing the deeper, deeper effects,” said Falconer. “We are down 17,000 workers from last December.”

Workforce Windsor-Essex reports there were 3,089 active job postings from 1,066 companies in December; down by more than 600 listings from a month prior when there were 3,699 jobs advertised from 1,294 employers.

What is of particular concern to Falconer is the drop in the number of people looking for work.

“Since last December, we’ve seen the participation rate in the Windsor CMA fall by 4.7 per cent which means nearly 5 out of 100 workers are no longer participating in the labour force – they’re not working and they’re not looking for work,” said Falconer.

Many of the traditional in-demand jobs in Windsor-Essex remain in-demand despite the pandemic.

According to Workforce Windsor-Essex – transport truck drivers, retail salespersons and home support workers remain the most sought-after positions for employers.

Falconer adds with many businesses pivoting to adjust to the pandemic conditions, there are new jobs and opportunities becoming more in-demand.

“We are seeing increased demand for security guards, we’re seeing increased demand for like stocking clerks, and sort of delivery couriers and drivers in our region so, those are some of the ‘pivot’ opportunities that are happening in our region,” said Falconer.