unemployment canada

Canada just reported its second-highest unemployment rate in history

The economic impact of the current health crisis is yet to be fully realized (let alone quantified), but so far, a shocking number of Canadians have already lost their jobs.

More than seven million residents have applied for temporary federal income relief through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), on top of those who applied for Employment Insurance (EI) before the CERB was initiated in March.

This number comprises more than one third of the citizens who were employed mid-March, before lockdown measures came into place in many provinces.

According to numbers from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, which was released today, a record two million Canadians lost their jobs in April alone, on top of the one million who were out of work in March.

Together, this means that the national unemployment rate has reached around 13 per cent, the second-highest on record. Millions more people are also working fewer hours than usual due to the economic standstill caused by the pandemic.

Data from March and April shows that in Canadian cities like Toronto specifically, more than 25 per cent of jobs have been lost.

And Quebec, where the COVID-19 outbreak has been the worst, has the highest rate of unemployment of any province (18.7 per cent)  right now, with industries like hospitality, retail and travel and tourism among those hit the hardest, as they have been worldwide. Lower-wage earners have also been disproportionately affected.

Looking forward, as experts at the Financial Post report, "the situation can get markedly worse, and likely will" given things like a tumbling GDP and Canadian dollar, as well as an untenable level of national debt, in part due to the billions going into new financial assistance programs.

With many small businesses already having to shut down permanently because of the financial strain of the pandemic, it is not yet known what proportion of those without work right now in Canada will have a job to go back to after this is all over.

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