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Unemployment rises as economy lost 207,000 jobs in April

207,000 jobs lost in April

Statistics Canada says the economy lost 207,000 jobs in April as a new rise in COVID-19 cases led to renewed public health restrictions that closed businesses.

The unemployment rate rose to 8.1 per cent from 7.5 per cent in March.

In British Columbia, the unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent, up from 6.9 per cent in February.

In Kelowna, it was pegged at 5.7 per cent, up from 5.0 per cent.

Statistics Canada says the number of employed people in April working less than half their usual hours increased by 288,000 or 27.2 per cent.

The losses in April nearly wiped out the 303,000 jobs added in March when the economy outpaced expectations and put the country about 503,100 jobs, or 2.6 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

More losses were seen in full-time work than part-time work, with the figures respectively at 129,000 and 78,000, with the retail sector and young workers hit hardest.

Total hours worked fell 2.7 per cent, that TD senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam said could indicate a reversal in the overall economic recovery in April.

The ranks of the long-term unemployed climbed to 486,000 as about 21,000 more workers crossed the threshold of being without a job for six months or more.

Among them are 312,000 workers who have been unemployed for a year, having lost jobs during the plunge in the labour market during the first wave of the pandemic when three million jobs were lost over March and April 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, there were only 99,000 workers who had been unemployed for at least a year, the statistics agency noted.

Regionally, Ontario saw a drop of 153,000 positions in April, and British Columbia witnessed its first decrease in employment since a historic plunge in the labour market in April 2020.

Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate would have been 10.5 per cent in March had it included in calculations Canadians who wanted to work but didn’t search for a job.



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