The closing of Big Lots and Myers Industries paired with severe winter conditions may be the cause in an unemployment spike.

The spike was announced in March after February numbers were officially released.

“Two factors during the last month likely impacted the increased rate locally— the closures of Big Lots and Myers Industries, resulting in an estimated 400 job losses, and the impact of severe winter weather on different types of businesses,” stated Jill Halyk, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, in an interview with a Brant News reporter.

Brantford’s unemployment rate has risen above the national average after maintaining a lower average for several months.

The Brantford area’s unemployment rate rests at 7.1 per cent, which is higher than the national rate in Canada. The national unemployment rate remains at 7.0 per cent with little employment growth since August of 2013.

Unemployment in the region has risen in the last month, but are an improvement from last year’s numbers. Despite the rise, Brantford remains below their 7.7 per cent average for unemployment from last February. The city also remains below the provincial rate; Ontario is currently idling at 7.5 per cent.

Brantford has higher employment rates than Hamilton, St. Catharine’s and London.

Brantford hit the lowest rate seen in five years during November with 4.1 per cent, most likely due to the seasonal work seen after the opening of Toys R Us and The Brick.

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