SUDBURY -- The economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on the job market in Greater Sudbury.

Statistics Canada reported June 5 unemployment hit 8.4 per cent last month.

That's up from 6.8 per cent in April and figures show the city shed about 3,000 jobs last month, and almost 10,000 since January, just before the pandemic began impacting the Canadian economy.

Sudbury wholesalers and retailers have lost about 2,300 workers since January, while the local construction industry lost about 1,400 jobs.

While COVID is having an impact, Sudbury fared better than Ontario (13.6 per cent) and Canada (13.7 per cent) as a whole in May.

"Ontario was the only province where employment continued to fall in May," StatsCan said in it monthly labour force survey. "This is consistent with the fact that most restrictions on economic activity remained in place in Ontario."

And in a recent report, the Conference Board of Canada pegged Greater Sudbury as one of the six cities expected to grow this year, out of 28 surveyed.

At this week's council meeting, city CAO Ed Archer said the fact housing starts increased by 23 per cent in April compared to the same time in 2019 is a sign of the city's economic resiliency.

"According to their findings, nearly 60 per cent of Canadian metropolitan areas have negative short-term and long-term expectations," a staff report said.

"There are only six municipalities out 28 with positive trend expectations for both the short and long terms, and Greater Sudbury is one of them, showing positive prospects for both short- and long-term growth."

Nationally, Canada clawed back 289,600 jobs in May as provincial governments began easing public health restrictions and businesses reopened, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Still, the unemployment rate in May rose to 13.7 per cent, the highest level in more than four decades of comparable data.

The increase in the unemployment rate, which topped the previous record of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982, came as more people started looking for work.

The monthly labour force survey showed that men gained back more jobs than women in May, resulting in a wider gender gap in employment losses as a result of COVID-19, and that the pandemic continued to disproportionately affect lower-wage workers.

The increase in the number of jobs -- which mirrored a similar bump in the U.S. -- came after three million jobs were lost over March and April and about 2.5 million more had their hours slashed.

Statistics Canada said the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours fell by 292,000 in May.

Combined with the increase in jobs, Statistics Canada said the country recovered 10.6 per cent of employment losses and absences related to the COVID-19 pandemic.