Eastern Ontario unemployment creeps up for third month

EASTERN ONTARIO – The number of people without a job in Eastern Ontario crept up for a third straight month bucking the national trend.

Statistics Canada says the regional unemployment rate for the area from Brockville to Ottawa and east to the Quebec border was 5.3 per cent in March, up 0.6 per cent from February.

It was the third straight month regional unemployment has risen since hitting a recent low of 4.1 per cent in December 2021.

In Cornwall, the city’s jobless figure was 8.7 per cent – a full percentage point higher than February.

The StatsCan figures suggest the city’s labour force grew by 1,100 people between February and March while employment only rose by 700, leading to an overall increase in the jobless pool.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 per cent, down 0.2 per cent from February’s 5.5 per cent. The jobless rate is the lowest it’s been since the 1970s.

The national economy added more than 70,000 jobs in March.