June 8, 2020: Employment (May 2020) & GDP (Mar. 2020)

June 8, 2020

After losing over 93,000 jobs in April, Ontario’s construction industry saw a slight increase in May according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force survey data released on Friday. The industry picked up 3,100 jobs in May, an increase of less than 1% over April. This is may be surprising to some as Ontario began a partial reopening of non-essential construction on May 4, before reopening fully on May 16. While it’s too early to make definitive conclusions, this could indicate that construction activity is slow to reopen, and that physical distancing requirements have limited the number of workers who can return to work.  Regardless of the reasons, it’s clear that the loss of jobs in Ontario’s construction industry has been arrested.

Ontario’s overall employment picture in May is similar to the construction industry, remaining stable compared to April. The province lost 64,500 jobs, a drop of 1%. Despite this slight decline, Ontario’s unemployment rate increased from 11.3% in April to 13.6% in May. This is the highest seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Ontario since Statistics Canada’s records began in 1976. Further underscoring how dramatically things have changed in the past few months is the fact that in January Ontario posted it’s lowest seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in thirty years (5.21%).

Statistics Canada reported the latest GDP numbers at the end of May. Canada’s GDP fell by 7.2% in March over February.