Unemployment hit near-record levels in Canada and the U.S. in April
The unemployment rate in Canada soared to 13 per cent in April, while unemployment in the U.S. hit 14.7 per cent, the highest unemployment rate in that country since the Great Depression.
The Canadian and American economies both reported record job losses for April, as the closure of non-essential services to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced businesses on both sides of the border to shutter temporarily.
According to Statistics Canada, Canada lost almost two million jobs in April, which is a record high. The loss of 1,993,800 jobs comes on top of more than one million jobs lost in March, StatCan said, and millions more are having their hours and incomes slashed.
StatCan also said the unemployment rate soared to 13 per cent as the full force of the pandemic hit compared with 7.8 per cent in March – the second-highest unemployment rate on record as job losses spread beyond the service sector to include construction and manufacturing.
In the U.S., meanwhile, unemployment hit 14.7 per cent in April, the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country lost 20.5 million jobs in April, “with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality.” The 10.3-point increase in the unemployment rate from March to April is the largest ever recorded, and marks the first time in over a decade that unemployment has hit double digits, the Bureau said. The previous worst jobless rate since the Great Depression, when unemployment hit 25 per cent, was 10.8 per cent in 1982.
One bright spot in the Bureau’s report is that of those unemployed, 18.1 million – 78 per cent – said that their layoff was temporary.