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Statistics Canada says it lost nearly 2 million jobs in April amid from COVID-19 crisis

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Published on May 08, 2020 with No Comments

Statistics Canada says unemployment rate soared to 13 per cent as full force of pandemic hit.

Canada lost almost two million jobs during the month of April, a record high, as the impact of COVID-19 on the economy made itself known.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey data released Friday brings the total number of jobs lost during the crisis to more than three million.

The closure of non-essential services to slow the spread of COVID-19 has devastated the economy and forced businesses to shutter temporarily.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate soared to 13 per cent as the full force of the pandemic hit, compared with 7.8 per cent in March.

Economists on average had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Douglas Porter, chief economist with BMO Economics, said those high projections could be tied to reports that more than seven million Canadians had applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“The 5.2 percentage point rise in the jobless rate was considerably less than expected, and massively smaller than the 10.3 percentage point spike  he said in an emailed statement.

Since comparable data became available in 1976, the April unemployment rate was second-highest only to December 1982, when it reached 13.1 per cent.

“By most accounts, unemployment soared to over 25 per cent during the worst of the Great Depression, as high as 30 per cent by some measures,” said Porter.

The rapid decline in employment is unprecedented, Statistics Canada says. The decline since February (-15.7 per cent) outpaces previous financial crises, including the 1981-1982 recession, which resulted in a drop of -5.4 per cent over 17 months. 


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