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London-St. Thomas jobless rate fell to 5.3% in March, a pandemic low

Statistics Canada reports 800 jobs were created in London and St. Thomas last month while 600 left the labour force and 1,400 fewer people claimed unemployment. Andrew Graham / Global News

London and St. Thomas’ unemployment rate fell to 5.3 per cent in March, down from 5.8 per cent in February, marking the region’s lowest jobless level amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada reports 800 jobs were created in the region last month while 600 people left the labour force and 1,400 fewer people claimed unemployment.

Read more: Unemployment rate hit record low 5.2% in March, Statistics Canada says

The latest data from the national agency continues a downward trend for London and St. Thomas’ unemployment rate this year, which sat at 6.3 per cent in January.

The last time the region’s unemployment rate was lower than March’s 5.3 per cent was right before the pandemic in February 2020, which recorded a rate of 4.9 per cent.

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The participation rate, which measures the proportion of the working-age population that is working or looking for work, is also trending downward for the region.

March recorded a participation rate of 65.3 per cent, down slightly from 65.6 per cent in February and 66 per cent in January.

Read more: Average home price in London-St. Thomas steady near $825K in March, LSTAR says

Nationally, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 5.3 per cent in March while provinces including Ontario and Quebec also saw record employment gains.

Statistics Canada says this marks the lowest unemployment rate since the agency started tracking comparable data in 1976.

The country added 73,000 jobs in March, a 0.4 per cent rise from February’s figures.

— with files from Global News’ Craig Lord

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