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Monday, December 9, 2013

London's unemployment rate falls again

The London area’s unemployment rate continued to fall in November, hitting 7.5 per cent, the lowest point in almost four years.

Statistics Canada released their monthly report Friday on the nation’s unemployment rate, including major cities.
But the figure for the London-St. Thomas area, although it drops the region below those with the highest rates in the province, may not be as positive as it seems at first glance.

In fact, according to Statistics Canada last month about 2,400 people dropped out of the local job market.
It's a trend John Griffiths, a career counsellor at the Goodwill Career Centre, is seeing first hand.

"People are finding work, so there's some real aspect to the reduction in the employment rate, but it's always a complicated number and it's partly about people who are withdrawing from the labour market, partly about people who are leaving London to find work as well, so it's a mixed message."

And according to Ivey Business School economics professor Frank Li, the jobs that are being created tend to be low-paying, like service-sector jobs.

He says right now there's little keeping young talent in the city, and he has seen that trend up close with his 150 graduate students.

"For example last year my best students went to Goldman Sachs, investment banks on Wall Street, none of them still live here. That's crazy! That's really bad for London."

But Kapil Lakhotia at the London Economic Development Corporation says the long-term employment trend is encouraging.
"There's a big psycholocial difference when you're looking at 9.9 - close to ten per cent unemployment rate - to now 7.5, much closer to the provincial average. It makes quite a substantial difference in the minds of a lot of people as well as potential investors who are looking at the city for long term investment."

Across the nation, the unemployment rate held at 6.9 per cent for the third straight month, despit the fact that Statistics Canada says the economy created about 21,600 new jobs.

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