Barrie’s unemployment rate dropped in May, but remains one of the highest in the country.

According to Statistics Canada, Barrie’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 per cent last month. That’s a decrease of one per cent from April.

Despite the drop, the city has the fourth highest unemployment rate in Canada. St. John’s, Calgary and Brantford, Ont. are the only cities on the monthly list that were higher than Barrie in May.

Barrie’s unemployment rate has been on a slight decline since March. That’s when the city had the highest jobless numbers in the country with a rate of 8.8 per cent.  

Statistics Canada says the economy lost 7,500 jobs in May as a drop in full-time employment was only partially offset by an increase in part-time jobs.

The unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent for the fourth consecutive month.

The overall drop in the number of jobs came as full-time jobs fell by 31,000, offset in part by a gain of 23,600 part-time positions.

The loss of jobs came as the health care and social assistance sector lost 24,000 jobs, while the manufacturing sector lost 18,000. Employment in construction fell 13,000 in May.

Sectors gaining jobs included the accommodation and food services sector which added 18,000 jobs, helped by growth in British Columbia. The professional, scientific and technical services sector added 17,000 and transportation and warehousing added 12,000.

Meanwhile, average hourly wages, a key indicator watched by the Bank of Canada, increased 3.9 per cent compared with a year ago, the monthly reading's largest annual increase since April 2009.

With files from The Canadian Press.