LONDON, ONT. -- London has gone from being one of the most prosperous cities in the country to one of the least prosperous when it comes to household income.

That’s the finding of a new study by the right wing think-tank, the Fraser Institute.

The report says from 2005 to 2005 median household income grew by two per cent in London compared to the national average of 13 percent.

It’s not a surprise to couple Louise and Chaim, who could be found catching up on some shopping at Argyle Mall in East London.

“In ‘92 I was making $17, $18 an hour,” commented Louise. “It’s hard because the rents are like over a thousand dollars for a one bedroom apartment, and people just don’t have that cash.”

The Fraser report also found that out of 36 cities, London fell from 15th to 27th in rankings for median household income.

London Mayor Ed Holder said the information used is dated, and doesn’t take into account economic growth in more recent years.

“No question the pandemic had some sobering impacts, but it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country, pre-COVID to now. When I look at the net new jobs, when I look at the development industry, the housing market, I think there’s a lot of consideration in current times.”

The report suggests that London still hasn’t recovered from the recession of 2008-2009, when plants were shuttered and the London region was hard hit by the loss of well-paid manufacturing jobs.

It goes on to say while unemployment in Ontario increased by 25.9 per cent from 2001 to 2019, the figure was just 9.1 per cent for London.

But Fanshawe College economics professor Mike Tucker said the report does not paint the whole picture, citing changes in collective agreements that helped to maintain jobs.

“After that 2007/2009 crisis, labour agreements were re-negotiated to either have a lower starting wage, or a longer phase-in to a maximum wage. So we have a lot of people retiring being replaced with these new workers earning significantly less than the people that just walked out the door. That’s a significant contribution to why real wages slowed down to a greater degree in the London area."

Tucker also pointed out that, pandemic aside, London’s unemployment rate has steadily decreased to below the Canadian average.