LONDON, ONT. -- London’s economy recorded its eighth straight month of positive employment gains, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.

London has now added 37,300 jobs over the last eight months following an increase of 4,000 net new jobs during the month of February.

“That is truly a phenomenal achievement and demonstrates, to me, a clear link between the health of our economy, and the health of our people,” said mayor Ed Holder.

As a result of these figures, London and Kingston are the only two cities in Ontario where employment levels in February 2021 are higher than they were in February 2020, according to Stats Canada (273,000 employed in February 2021 in London CMA vs. 271,000 in February 2020).

There are now more people employed in London today than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, London has consistently had among the lowest case counts per capita of any medium to large sized city in Ontario,” said Holder.

“This results in greater consumer confidence, and greater opportunities for our local businesses when it comes to the loosening of provincial restrictions. The sacrifices so many Londoners have made over the last 12 months are truly making a difference. We absolutely must maintain our resolve for the final, and potentially most difficult, mile.”

The latest data from Statistics Canada also revealed London’s participation rate - a measure of individuals working or actively looking for work - climbed to its highest level in five years at 63 per cent, while the unemployment rate fell for an eighth consecutive month to 6.9 per cent, down from a pandemic high of 12.6 per cent in June 2020.

“Despite these positive signs, our efforts are nowhere near complete,” said Holder. “We will continue to work flat-out over the coming weeks and months to ensure London’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.”