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Ottawa, Apr 9 (Canadian-Media): Unemployment rate in Canada soared to 7.8 percent due to loss of more than one million jobs by Canada in March due to COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said Thursday, media reports said.
Statistics Canada. Image credit: Facebook page
The spike in jobless rate by 2.2 percentage leading to to 7.8 percent rise is the biggest monthly increase in the jobless rate in records that date back to 1976.
Out of 19.2 million Canadians paid jobs in February before the coronavirus hit Canada with full force, barely 18 million had jobs in the month of March.
The true employment picture is much worse than economists' predictions of around 500,000 jobs loss for the month of March.
The closes decline in Canada's economy was in 1998 ice storm that caused 166,000 people in Canada to temporarily lose all or most of their paid work. Last month's number was eight times higher than that.
The worst month ever for Canadian jobs lost, prior to Thursday's numbers, was January 2009, when the economy lost 124,400 jobs. March 2020's numbers far exceeded that figure.
The biggest job losses were in the sectors of accommodation and food services, which shrank by almost one-quarter. The next hardest hit sector was IT, arts and culture, which lost 13 percent of its jobs. Education was hit nine percent, while wholesale and retail trade lost seven percent.
"After a month of social distancing, a colossal drop in Canadian employment comes as no surprise, but its steepness is still shocking," said Brendon Bernard, an economist with online job marketplace Indeed.
Although all the provinces were hit hard by job loss, Ontario and Quebec were the hardest hit, losing 403,000 and 264,000 jobs respectively.
Hassan Yussuff, head of the Canadian Labour Congress, said it is evident from the data that government needs to ramp up its support programs even more.