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Unemployment rates have fallen steadily over the last seven months. (Kevin Gamble/CBC)

Hamilton's unemployment rate has dropped for the seventh consecutive month.

Since July of last year, Hamilton's unemployment rates have steadily dipped from 7.5 per cent to 5.7 per cent in February, according to Statistics Canada.

In February, Hamilton had the lowest unemployment rate in the province and the eighth lowest in the country. Hamilton sits well below the national unemployment rate of 7 per cent.

Many nearby cities faced higher — and rising — unemployment:

  • Toronto: 8.4 per cent
  • London: 9.1 per cent
  • Oshawa 9.4 per cent
  • St. Catharines 7.1 per cent
  • Brantford  7.7 per cent

Hamilton has seen a steady decline every month since July of last year. The biggest drop was in September, when the unemployment rate fell from 7.3 per cent to 6.8 per cent.

Canadian numbers

Canada created 51,000 new jobs in February, blowing past expectations thanks mainly to an increase in full-time work.

While the national unemployment rate remained steady at seven per cent during the month, Statistics Canada said that's because the number of new jobs was almost the same as the number of new job-seekers.

The numbers were far higher than the 8,000 jobs that economists had been expecting.

The gains were broad-based, as the increase was spread between full- and part-time work. More than half of the new jobs came from the private sector.

Gains were fairly consistent across most industries, too. The only major category to post a decline in jobs was manufacturing.

"If there is a fly in the ointment, it lies in the fact that a big job gain nonetheless coincided with no growth in paycheques for all workers combined during the month, as evidenced by flat wages and flat hours worked," Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said in reaction to the news.

By province, Ontario and British Columbia made up most of the gains, with 35,000 and almost 20,000 new jobs respectively.

Manitoba was the lone province to lose jobs, with 3,200 fewer. All other provinces were unchanged or saw slight gains.