London-St. Thomas jobless rate continues downward trend

Steel workers build a structure in Ottawa on March 5, 2018.
Steel workers build a structure in Ottawa on March 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

London’s jobless rate dropped to start 2020.

Statistics Canada reports the London-St. Thomas unemployment rate fell to five per cent in January, down from 5.6 per cent the month before.

It marks the fifth straight month the jobless rate has declined, falling more than a percentage point from September 2019, when it stood at 6.5 per cent.

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The decline was the result of an increase of 3,700 jobs. The local labour force rose while the number of people claiming unemployment fell.

Mayor Ed Holder once again made jobs a priority during his annual state of the city address last month. He declared a job crisis during his 2019 address, which led to the creation of the London Jobs Now task force.

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London’s labour participation rate, which has long been one of the lowest in Canada, also saw a slight increase from 61.1 to 61.5 per cent.

Despite the bump, London’s participation rate continues to lag behind the rest of the province and the country.

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Nationally, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.5 per cent as the economy added 34,500 jobs last month. The number of full-time jobs rose by almost 36,000 in January, while part-time employment fell by 1,200.

Ontario also started the new year on a positive note, with 25,000 jobs added in January, dropping the provincial jobless rate to 5.3 per cent.