Jobs picture improves again

The region’s economy adds new jobs for the ninth straight month, but lockdown impact remains to be seen

ACCORDING TO FIGURES released Friday by Statistics Canada, the London region showed a slight improvement on the employment front in March, adding new jobs for the ninth consecutive month.

The London region, which also includes Strathroy, St. Thomas and portions of Middlesex and Elgin counties, added 1,300 positions last month.

But despite the increase in people employed, the region’s unemployment rate edged up slightly to 7 per cent in March, up from 6.9 per cent in February. The increase is the result of more people entering the labour force and looking for jobs, which is considered a positive sign that people may be more confident about finding work.

However, the report comes ahead of Ontario’s third lockdown and does not capture what impact the latest lockdown and stay-at-home order may have on London and surrounding regions.

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Those numbers will likely be better reflected in the May and June reports.

Other highlights from Friday’s jobs report:

• The total number of people employed locally is 274,300;

• At the height of the pandemic’s first wave, the London economy shed about 30,000 jobs;

• The London region didn’t lose any net jobs following December’s lockdown and January’s stay-at-home order.

Nationally, the Canadian economy showed strong job gains in March, adding 303,000 jobs after adding 259,000 positions in February.

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Those figures helped bring the country’s unemployment rate to 7.5 per cent from 8.2 per cent, which is the lowest since February 2020, prior to the pandemic.

Among the provinces, the largest job gains were seen in Ontario, which added 182,000 jobs in March. Ontario’s unemployment rate is now 7.5 per cent, down from 9.2 in February. Jobs picture improves again jobs Workforce

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