The unemployment rate in London-St. Thomas fell to 7.7 per cent in December, down from 8.4 per cent in November, as the local economy continues to recover from the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to Statistics Canada, 3,700 jobs were added in the region. Data released Friday shows an increase in the labour force of 1,900 and a decrease in unemployment of 1,800.
The participation rate, which measures the proportion of the working-age population that is working or looking for work, climbed to 61.7 per cent from 61.4 per cent.
London mayor Ed Holder says December marks the sixth straight month in which the region saw jobs added, for a total of 27,500 jobs added since July.
“Since March, when the first lockdown occurred, London’s economy has recorded the second-fastest and most robust recovery in all of Ontario with respect to jobs,” Holder said on Twitter.
“In addition, despite the pandemic, London is one of only four communities in all of Ontario (joining Kingston, Oshawa, and Guelph) to have finished December 2020 with more jobs compared to December 2019.”
The jobless rate in London-St. Thomas skyrocketed from 4.9 per cent in February 2020, before the pandemic, to a high of 12.6 per cent in June. It’s fallen or remained steady every month since.
However, Holder anticipates January’s numbers will buck the recent trend.
“It is likely the jobs report for January (to be released next month) will begin to reflect the pain so many have endured since our second Ontario-wide lockdown came into effect on Dec. 26,” Holder wrote.
Nationally, Statistics Canada says the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December, the first decline since April.
The unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent for the month, up 0.1 percentage points from 8.5 per cent in November.
— with files from The Canadian Press.