London region sees 28,400 jobs lost to COVID-19
LONDON, ONT. -- The unemployment rate in London increased dramatically in May, according to Statistics Canada.
London’s jobless rate climbed to 11.7 per cent in May, compared to 8.9 per cent in April.
It’s the lowest number of people working in London since 2003, when there were over 80,000 fewer people living in the area.
Based on a three-month rolling average, London-St. Thomas has lost 28,400 people from its labour force – and that’s just since February.
That figure includes Shannon Rumble, “Since the beginning when everything shut down, I haven’t been to work at all.”
Temporarily laid off from her job as a line cook, federal CERB payments are helping, but Rumble needs things to get back to normal soon.
“I’m a single mom, so (my daughter) can’t go to day care. My parents are helping out, but I can’t go to work if she can’t go to school or day care,” she explains.
“Its not just numbers, it’s people,” London Mayor Ed Holder isn’t sugar coating the situation, “It impacts people on a very personal level and if you are trying to make a mortgage (payment), or make sure your kids are alright, I get that.”
From the perspective of businesses, Holder says large employers who are part of his COVID-19 economic task force are balancing an urgent desire to get staff back to work, with the need to keep them safe from COVID-19.
“We will be doing business, we may just be doing it differently,” he says.
Holder predicts a moderate, consistent comeback as businesses reopen, “I am optimistic that, while I don’t think it’s a quick recovery, I think it will be steady.”
On a national level, Statistics Canada reported a record high unemployment rate even as the economy added 289,600 jobs in May, with businesses reopening amid easing public health restrictions.
The national unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982.
The increase in the unemployment rate came as more people started looking for work.
The increase in the number of jobs come after three million were lost over March and April.
The average estimate from economists is for the loss of 500,000 jobs in May and for the unemployment rate to rise to 15.0 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
- With files from CTV's Melanie Borrelli and The Canadian Press.