Unemployment in the economic region that includes Huron and Perth counties spiked in January.
The Four County Labour Market Planning Board reports the jobless rate hit 4.5 per cent last month, up 0.8 percentage points compared to December.
The provincial unemployment rate rose slightly in January as well, hitting 5.2 per cent. Nationally, the jobless rate ticked up to 5.8 per cent.
Labour Market Planning Board executive director Gemma Mendez-Smith says the last time the unemployment rate for the region from Stratford to the Bruce Peninsula was this high was in January 2018, when it hit 4.4 per cent.
"We're just looking year-over-year, we're not looking at a trend, but certainly the first four months of 2018 we had unemployment rates over four per cent," Mendez-Smith says. "What we will be doing from now to April is track that to see if this is a trend in our region with those first four months of the year."
In all, the local economy shaved 5,000 jobs in January with 2,800 of those being full-time. The construction, accommodation/food services, health care and social assistance and retail trade sectors led the job losses.
The manufacturing, utilities and other services (excluding public administration) sectors all posted job gains last month.