TORONTO -- Ontario's fiscal watchdog says the province lost more than 355,000 jobs last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Financial Accountability Officer says in a new report today that the job losses represent the single largest annual decline on record.

The report says that in addition to job losses, more than 765,000 Ontario residents worked fewer hours because of the pandemic.

The FAO says young workers were the hardest hit group, as youth unemployment jumped to 22 per cent.

The largest increase in job losses occurred in Peterborough, Ont., with a 13.5 per cent decline, and Windsor, Ont., which experienced a 10.9 per cent drop.

The hardest hit sector was accommodation and food services, with over 110,000 job losses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.