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London-St. Thomas May jobless rate up 1.5 percentage points to 9.7%

FILE. Kevan D. Ashworth / The Canadian Press

The unemployment rate for London-St. Thomas shot up to 9.7 per cent in May, up from 8.2 per cent in April.

Data released Friday from Statistics Canada showed a third consecutive increase and the second in a row with a significant climb.

Read more: London-St. Thomas unemployment rate soars to 8.2% in April

Yet in a repeat of March and April, 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.

In May, Statistics Canada data shows the labour force increased by 6,200. The number of people with jobs increased by 1,000, while the number of people who claimed unemployment insurance because they are actively looking for work increased by 5,200.

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The participation rate was 66.2 per cent in May — the highest its been since June 2010 when it hit 66.7 per cent, and up from 64.9 the month before.

The rate measures the proportion of the working-age population that is working or looking for work and has been of particular focus for London, which recorded the second-lowest participation rate in Canada in April 2019 at 58.6 per cent.

Read more: Canada’s annual inflation rate hits 3.4%, highest level in nearly a decade

Before the pandemic was declared, the local jobless rate sat at 4.9 per cent.

The jobless rate for March 2020 stood at 5.8 per cent, and while the pandemic was declared March 11, 2020, a state of emergency in Ontario wasn’t issued until March 17, 2020.

The unemployment rate then climbed monthly until it reached a peak of 12.6 per cent in June and began falling or holding steady until it reached to 6.9 per cent in February 2021 and then started climbing again.

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Back to the office? Employment experts predict a post-pandemic ‘resignation boom’ – May 17, 2021

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