Canada’s unemployment rate jumped to 13 percent in April as the country lost a record 2 million jobs, according to Statistics Canada.
The total number of jobs came in at 16.2 million in April, which means the country effectively erased all its job gains going back to the spring of 2005, in just two months.
But the real job loss situation appears to be much worse than the numbers suggest.
More than 1.1 million people left the labour force in April, telling Statistics Canada they aren’t searching for work. Had those people been included in the unemployment statistics, Canada’s jobless rate would be 17.8 per cent.
The data shows that barely more than half of working-age Canadians currently have jobs. The employment rate fell to 52.1 per cent, the lowest in records going back to 1976.
In all of the Atlantic provinces except Prince Edward Island, fewer than half of people aged 15 and over had a job in April.
On top of the job losses, another 2.5 million Canadians worked less than half their usual hours in April, Statistics Canada said.
The agency described the job losses as “unprecedented.”
Quebec saw the sharpest spike in joblessness, losing 778,000 jobs in a month. Its jobless rate spiked to 17 per cent, the highest in the country. It was 8.1 per cent the month before.
Quebec shut down more of its economy than other provinces, including housing construction, which was declared an essential service everywhere else and only resumed in Quebec on April 20.
Ontario lost 959,000 jobs, and its jobless rate jumped to 11.6 per cent, from 7.6 per cent the month before.
British Columbia, which lost 421,000 jobs. Its jobless rate jumped to 11.5 per cent, from 7.2 per cent.
Alberta lost 382,000 jobs, and its jobless rate jumped to 13.4 percent from 8.7 per cent the month before.
Unemployment rates by province
Newfoundland and Labrador – 16.0 (11.7)
Prince Edward Island – 10.8 (8.6)
Nova Scotia – 12.0 (9.0)
New Brunswick – 13.2 (8.8)
Quebec – 17.0 (8.1)
Ontario – 11.3 (7.6)
Manitoba – 11.4 (6.4)
Saskatchewan – 11.3 (7.3)
Alberta – 13.4 (8.7)
British Columbia – 11.5 (7.2)