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London-St. Thomas jobless rate for Dec. 2021 is lowest since pandemic began

Downtown London apartments as seen from Adelaide Street overpass, September 6, 2017. (Matthew Trevithick/AM980). Matthew Trevithick / 980 CFPL

The London-St. Thomas unemployment rate fell for the sixth consecutive month in December, reaching a 2021 low and falling to the lowest level seen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jobless rate for December was 5.7 per cent, down from 6.4 per cent in November, and the lowest figure since March 2020. However, while some capacity limits were reintroduced in late-December, the data predates the bulk of restrictions implemented this week in response to the spread of the Omicron variant.

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The jobless rate for March 2020 was 5.8 per cent, up from 4.9 per cent in February 2020, but while the pandemic was declared March 11, 2020, a state of emergency in Ontario wasn’t issued until March 17, 2020.

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The latest figures from Statistics Canada show 3,500 jobs were added last month while 1,700 additional people entered the labour force. The number of people who claimed unemployment insurance because they are actively looking for work fell by 1,800.

The participation rate, which measures the proportion of the working-age population that is working or looking for work, climbed slightly to 65.8 per cent in December, up from 65.5 per cent in November.

Nationally, Statistics Canada reported the economy added 55,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent, down from 6.0 per cent in November.

— with a file from the Canadian Press.

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