Economic Update – May 8, 2020


May 8, 2020

Statistics Canada’s April Labour Force Survey data was released today, revealing the impact of Ontario’s construction site shutdowns on employment. While the industry was largely spared the loss in employment seen by other parts of the economy in March, the impact of the coronavirus economic disruption was felt in April, with 93,800 jobs lost.

The industry’s employment in Ontario since the disruption began is down 17.5% (April over February). To put this into context, construction employment has declined 21% nationally. Quebec, which was the first province to begin shutting down parts of its construction industry in late March, has seen the biggest decline in the country (-39%). Ontario’s construction shutdowns were not as extensive as Quebec’s and didn’t begin until the first week of April, which would partially explain why construction employment in Ontario has not fallen as far.

Looking at employment in the economy as a whole, Ontario’s job losses since February have surpassed one million (1,092,000), with the country’s job losses beyond three million. As a percentage, Ontario has lost 14.5% of its jobs, with Canada down 15.7%.

Ontario’s unemployment rate increased to 11.3% in April, up from 7.6% in March. Although it is a significant increase, it is among the lowest unemployment rates in the county (Saskatchewan’s is the same as Ontario and only PEI is lower). The national unemployment rate is 13%, with Quebec the highest at 17%.

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