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London area unemployment rate drops to pandemic low


The unemployment rate in the London area has fallen to its lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Statistics Canada released new figures on Friday showing the unemployment rate in the London census metropolitan area was 5.3% last month, down from 5.8% in February. This is the second month in a row that the rate has fallen locally. The last time the figure was this low was in February 2020, when the unemployment rate was 4.9%.

The drop is attributed to about 800 new jobs that were created in March. In January as in February, the London region recorded only job losses. The job gains signal a rebound from economic losses from the Omicron-fueled provincial shutdown in January, which forced businesses to reduce capacity, go online or shut down.

The labor force fell by 600 people in March and the number of people actively seeking work fell by 1,400.

The participation rate, which reflects the percentage of people of working age employed or looking for work, fell to 65.3% from 65.6% in February.

There are currently 292,700 people employed in the region, up from 291,900 in February.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to a record low of 5.3% in March, from 5.5% the previous month. The economy added 72,500 jobs. Statistics Canada noted that the rate would have been higher than 7% if people who wanted a job, but weren’t looking for one, had been included in the figures.

Ontario added 35,000 jobs last month. This helped bring the unemployment rate down to 5.3%. In February, Ontario’s unemployment rate was 5.5%.