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London’s latest jobless figures show clear post-pandemic trend

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The unemployment rate for the London area dropped for the third straight month in September, figures released Friday by Statistics Canada show.

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The jobless rate for London’s Census Metropolitan Area, an area that includes Strathroy, St. Thomas and portions of Elgin and Middlesex counties, was 7.3 per cent last month, down from August’s 7.8 per cent.

The drop is in part the result of the addition of 1,200 new positions in September, which brought the total number of people employed in the region to 283,100.

It comes after a negative trend that saw the jobless rate climb each month from March to June.

At 7.3 per cent, the London jobless rate is the same as Ontario but higher than the national figure, which sat at 6.9 per cent in September. It is also higher than its pre-pandemic level of 4.9 per cent, recorded in February of 2020.

In Ontario, the economy saw a net gain of 73,600 jobs in September, the fourth straight month of gains for the province, Statistics Canada said.

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Though employment rebounded in industries like finance, insurance and culture and recreation, the accommodations and food services sectors continue to be hard hit by the pandemic, the federal agency said.

Nationally, the Canadian unemployment rate sat at 6.9 per cent, down from August’s 7.1 per cent.

In total, the Canadian economy added 157,000 new positions, mostly in full-time work. The total number of people employed is now the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

But the number of people employed and working less than half their usual hours is about 26 per cent higher than it was back in February of 2020, Statistics Canada noted.

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