KITCHENER -- The local unemployment rate is on the rise during the pandemic, but according to Statistics Canada, so is job demand.

The Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin says this could be a good sign as businesses begin to reopen.

“We have a lot of employers who are feeling optimistic, who are looking for people, who are thinking about reopening, who are thinking about ramping up their operations,” says Charlene Hofbauer, executive director at the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

In the month of May, Statistic Canada reports that the unemployment rate went up by almost three per cent from the month prior.

During the same period, the local workforce planning board says online job postings are up by 55 per cent compared to April.

“We knew that recovery was going to be slow and we know that it looks like employers are feeling pretty good about what is happening and they’re feeling they can bring staff online,” says Hofbauer.

The website FindYourJob shows more than 4,300 jobs were posted in the region in May, compared to fewer than 2,800 in April.

The top employer posting in the area is the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener.

The top three kinds of jobs were home support workers, retail positions and material handlers.

The workforce planning board calls this a good opportunity for those unemployed to prepare to go back into workplaces as some businesses begin to reopen.