Canada lost more than 1,000,000 jobs in March, says Statistics Canada. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada lost 1,011,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate up to 7.8%: StatCan

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada reports the economy lost 1,011,000 jobs in March as the COVID-19 crisis began to take hold, which lifts the unemployment rate up to 7.8 per cent.

The 2.2 per cent increase in the national unemployment rate marks the worst single-month change over the last 40-plus years of comparable data and brings the rate to a level not seen since October 2010.

Economists warn the numbers are likely to be even worse when the agency starts collecting April job figures, with millions more Canadians now receiving emergency federal aid.

Statistics Canada retooled some of its usual measures of counting employed, unemployed and “not in the labour force” to better gauge the effects of COVID-19 on the job market, which has been swift and harsh.

The number of people considered unemployed rose by 413,000 between February and March, almost all of it fuelled by temporary layoffs, meaning workers expected their jobs back in six months.

The jobs report out this morning also says that most of the losses were in the private sector, with the greatest employment declines observed for youth aged 15 to 24.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020.

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