COVID-19 and the Labour Market

Charticle, COVID-19, Economy, Frontier Centre

Following employment losses of over one million in March, employment fell by nearly two million in April as the impacts of physical distancing and economic shutdowns on labour market activity became more apparent. Over one half of the employment losses in April were among core-age workers aged 25 to 54, with losses among core-age men (-646,000) exceeding those among core-age women (-491,000). Employment among youth aged 15 to 24 was down 480,000 in April, while employment among workers aged 55 and over fell by 377,000.

While losses in March were heavily concentrated in services, employment fell sharply in April in both service industries (-1,373,000) and goods industries (-621,000). Wholesale and retail trade, accommodation and food services, construction and manufacturing posted the largest declines.

From February to April, total employment in Canada has declined by 15.7%. The official unemployment rate has risen from 5.6% to 13.0% over this two-month period. In April, the unemployment rate would be 17.8% if adjusted to include individuals who were not counted as unemployed due to reasons specific to the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Canada’s employment rate – the portion of the working age population that is employed – has declined by 9.7 percentage points from February to April. The overall employment rate in April was 52.1%. Among core-age workers, the employment rate in April was 72.6%, down from 80.2% in March. Among core-age men, the employment rate in April fell to 76.2%, while it declined to 68.9% among core-aged women. The employment rate among youth was 38.2% in April and has fallen almost 20 percentage points since February.” – Weekly Update – Friday May 8, 2020