The London-St. Thomas jobless rate has climbed from 4.9 per cent in February to 5.8 per cent in March.

The March uptick put an end to five consecutive months of declines, but is still well below the 6.5 per cent unemployment rate recorded in September 2019.

Locally, 1,900 jobs were lost in March while the labour force increased by 800. The number of people claiming unemployment climbed by 2,700. London’s labour participation rate, which has long been one of the lowest in Canada, continued to climb from 61.5 per cent in February to 61.6 per cent in March.

The climb in the jobless rate was expected as the March report is the first since the country started feeling a significant impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Provincially, Ontario’s unemployment rate went from 5.3 per cent in February to 6.1 per cent in March.

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Nationally, the unemployment rate jumped 2.2 per cent to 7.8 per cent, the largest one-month increase since comparable record-keeping began in 1976.