Statistics Canada’s offices at Tunny’s Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. The Canadian economy posted its biggest monthly job loss since the financial crisis as the unemployment rate also pushed higher in November. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canada lost 1,011,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate up to 7.8%: StatCan

Unemployment rate hits levels not seen since 2010

Statistics Canada reports the economy lost 1,011,000 jobs in March — the worst recorded single-month change — as the COVID-19 crisis began to take hold, lifting the unemployment rate to 7.8 per cent.

Economists warn the numbers are likely to be even worse when the agency starts collecting April job figures, with millions more Canadians now receiving emergency federal aid.

The 2.2 percentage-point increase is the biggest monthly change in the national unemployment rate over the last 40-plus years of comparable data and brings the rate to a level not seen since October 2010.

Statistics Canada retooled some of its usual measures of counting employed, unemployed and “not in the labour force” to better gauge the effects of COVID-19 on the job market, which has been swift and harsh.

The number of people considered unemployed rose by 413,000 between February and March, almost all of it fuelled by temporary layoffs, meaning workers expected their jobs back in six months.

The number of people who didn’t work any hours during the week of the labour force survey increased by 1.3 million, the national statistics office says, while the number who worked less than half of their usual hours increased by 800,000.

Statistics Canada says those changes in hours can all be attributed to COVID-19, which has led governments to order businesses to close and workers to stay at home to slow the spread of the pandemic.

It also warned that the number of people absent from work for a full week who weren’t paid — which hit a seasonally adjusted rate of 55.8 per cent — “may be an indication of future job losses.”

All told, Statistics Canada says some 3.1 million Canadians either lost their jobs or had their hours slashed last month due to COVID-19.

“It is expected that the sudden employment decline observed in March will have a significant effect on the performance of the Canadian economy over the coming months,” the agency said in its report.

Job losses were felt across all provinces, with the largest in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. Ontario shed 403,000 jobs, Quebec lost 264,000, B.C. saw a drop of 132,000, and Alberta lost 117,000 compared to juts one month earlier.

The jobs report out this morning also says that most of the losses were in the private sector, with the greatest employment declines observed for youth aged 15 to 24. The youth unemployment rate in March was 16.8 per cent, the highest it has been since June 1997.

READ MORE: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronaviruseconomyJobs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

Canfor announces permanent closure of Isle Pierre Mill

The company also announced curtailments at their pulp mills in Prince George.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation to receive 30 greenhouses from Rio Tinto

With over two months since the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place,… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadians, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Most Read