Leveraging Labour Market Information for Small Business

Using all the available free community assets is key to managing and growing a successful small business.  Learning about local labour market information and how it can be leveraged to support the aims of area small businesses is a hidden secret in the Durham Region.  The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) recently presented local labour market information to members of the Durham Home and Small Business Association (DHSBA).

Labour market information (LMI) is information on the structure of businesses in your area – how many small businesses, what sectors they are in, which sector has worked to develop a cluster.  LMI also provides decision makers with information about the employed and unemployed populations; their commuting patterns, occupations, skill sets and average wages.

Understanding this information can help small business to hone in on its target markets – knowing the commuting patterns and disposable income information can assist small business in creating targeted marketing campaigns that will effectively reach those markets.

Small businesses that are looking to partner with other business to provide complete service to clients also can use this LMI to understand and connect with the like-minded businesses in their sector.

The Skill Shed Survey asked employers about what types of skills they would like to see employees possess. Employers were surveyed on five of the nine essential skills but were also provided an opportunity to discuss other skills they would like to see in the workplace. The following is a list of those skills listed by employers:

  • Sales skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Knowledge of technical devices
  • Fluency in ASL
  • Understanding of HTML (including the ability to write)
  • Understanding of social media practices
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Food preparation skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving


The DWA also has access to commuting patterns and average wages of service sector workers and here is a sample of that information:

Commuting patterns - Occupations data table


The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA), is one of 26 provincial workforce development boards created by the Government of Ontario to be the voice of communities and their constituencies to government. They facilitate labour market development at the community level.

Here is the DWA presentation made to the Durham Home and Small Business DHSBA Presentation

Want specific LMI related to your sector?  Please contact us at: admin@durhamwa.ca