Windsor

Windsor unemployment rate 11.1% in March

Windsor's unemployment rate leaped to 11.1 per cent in March. That's a sharp increase, up from 9.6 per cent in February

Those temporarily unemployed during 3-month Windsor assembly shutdown included in unemployment rate

Approximately 4,500 hourly employees at Windsor Assembly Plant are laid off until May while the plant undergoes a $2-billion renovation. (File Photo)

Windsor's unemployment rate leaped to 11.1 per cent in March.

That's a sharp increase, up from 9.6 per cent in February and it's nearly two percentage points higher than next highest jobless rate of 9.2 per cent in Saint John.

Economist Mike Moffatt wondered if the massive shutdown at FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant, where the Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravans are made, has to do with the increase.

Approximately 4,500 hourly employees are laid off until May while the plant undergoes a $2-billion renovation.

A spokesperson for Statistics Canada told CBC those temporarily laid off at Windsor Assembly Plant are considered unemployed and do affect the unemployment rate.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath briefly talked unemployment with reporters during a stop in Leamington on Friday morning.

"Southwestern Ontario has been hit very, very hard in terms of job loss and we've not seen any plan whatsoever by the Liberals to reverse that trend or maintain the jobs that currently still exist," she said.

In a media release, the Liberal government defended its job creation strategy in southwestern Ontario.

"Through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the province has leveraged almost $44 million in the aerospace, advanced manufacturing and food processing sectors in the past month, securing over 1,400 jobs. This includes investments in Airbus Helicopters Canada, Attica Manufacturing, Wolf Steel, DC Foods and more," the province said in a media release.

Employment in Ontario increased by 2,000 in March, the government said.

Nationally, unemployment held steady at 6.8 per cent, despite the addition of 29,000 jobs.

"Broadly speaking, the Canadian economy continues to grow. There's no recession," Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson said.

He said the federal government plans to create jobs by keeping taxes low, opening trade markets and creating infrastructure projects.

Pointing to Windsor, Watson called the $2-billion private retooling of the Windsor Assembly Plant an important investment for the future.

He said FCA officials have not come back to the federal government looking for financial assistance.

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