As provincial and national numbers improve, London-area jobless rate rises for fourth straight month
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE in London-St. Thomas climbed 0.3 percentage points in June as the trend of more people joining the area’s labour force and looking for work continued last month.
According to Statistics Canada figures released Friday, the area’s jobless rate sat at 10 per cent in June, up from May’s 9.7 per cent.
The 10 per cent figure is the highest the unemployment rate has been since July 2020, when it stood at 10.5 per cent. However, it’s still below the pandemic high of 12.6 per cent reported last June.
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The number of people with jobs in the London region ― which also includes St. Thomas, Strathroy and portions of Elgin and Middlesex counties ― increased by 400, but the number of people who claimed unemployment insurance because they are actively looking for work increased by 1,100.
The participation rate, which measures the share of the working-age population that is working or looking for work, edged up once again to 66.4 per cent in June from 66.2 per cent in May.
The jobless rate has been steadily increasing since falling to 6.9 per cent in February. It inched higher to 7.0 per cent in March, then to 8.2 per cent in April, before jumping to 9.7 per cent in May and now 10 per cent in June.
In each monthly report for March, April, May and June, data shows that the increase in the jobless rate seems to be due to a rise in the number of people looking for work that outpaced the number of jobs added.
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Provincially and nationally the figures improved. Following two months of losses, employment in Ontario rose by 117,000, just as restrictions imposed due to the pandemic began to be lifted. That helped bring the province’s unemployment rate to 8.4 per cent, down from May’s 9.3 per cent.
And nationally, Canada’s job market roared back to life faster than expected in June, reversing the bulk of employment losses from country-wide lockdowns earlier this year.
The national economy added 230,700 positions last month, Statistics Canada said, versus economists’ expectations for an increase of 175,000. The nation had lost 275,000 jobs in April and May as governments shut down parts of the economy to contain a third wave of COVID-19 cases.