Canada’s job market continues to take a significant hit, losing more nearly two million jobs in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Statistic Canada, after employment fell by 1,011,000 or 5.3% in March, it dropped by nearly two million in April, “bringing the total employment decline since the beginning of the COVID-19 economic shutdown to over three million.”
Additionally, those who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours for reasons related to the coronavirus increased by 2.5 million from February to April.
“As of the week of April 12, the cumulative effect of the COVID-19 economic shutdown — the number of Canadians who were either not employed or working substantially reduced hours — was 5.5 million, or more than one-quarter of February’s employment level,” said Stats. Can in its latest report.
Both full-time and part-time employment fell in April, by -9.7% and -17.1% respectively.
Since February, those losses translate to -12.5% in full-time work, and -29.6% in part-time work.
Statistics Canada calls the drop in employment “unprecedented.”
“The magnitude of the decline in employment since February (-15.7%) far exceeds declines observed in previous labour market downturn,” reads its report. “For example, the 1981-1982 recession resulted in a total employment decline of 612,000 (-5.4%) over approximately 17 months.”
Labour Force Survey: In April, the #unemployment rate increased by 5.2 percentage points to 13%, the second-highest rate on record. For more on how #COVID19 continues to impact the labour market: https://t.co/hJt8JmOoCg #CdnEcon pic.twitter.com/hmEaQyjUkj
— Statistics Canada (@StatCan_eng) May 8, 2020
The unemployment rate rose 5.2% points in April to 13.0%, which followed an increase of 2.2% points in March.
Stats Can said that over the period since comparable data became available in 1976, the April unemployment rate was second only to the 13.1% observed in December 1982.
“The April unemployment rate would be 17.8%, when adjusted to reflect those who were not counted as unemployed for reasons specific to the COVID-19 economic shutdown,” said the report.
And employment rates declined in all provinces for the second month in a row.
Compared with February, Stats Can said that employment declined by more than 10% in all provinces, led by Quebec (-18.7%).
Similarly, employment dropped sharply from February to April in each of Canada’s largest census metropolitan area (CMAs).
As a proportion of February employment, Montreal recorded the largest decline, followed by Vancouver (-17.4%) and Toronto (-15.2%).
Statistics Canada also reported that an additional 3.3 million Canadians worked from home in April.
“It can be reasonably assumed that these workers changed their workplace in response to the COVID-19 economic shutdown,” they said.
Looking ahead, the report indicated that Canadians fear future employment losses.
“As the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 economic shutdown are gradually adjusted and economic activity increases, a number of Canadian workers face an uncertain immediate future.”