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Quebec's Unemployment Rate Has Reached A Record High

The Montreal-area unemployment rate reached 18.2% in April.
Senior Editor
Unemployment Rate In Quebec Hit 17% & It's Even Higher In The Montreal Area

Statistics Canada has released an astonishing survey of the labour market. In April, the unemployment rate in Quebec hit 17%, "the highest rate in the province since comparable data became available in 1976, and the highest among all provinces," the government agency writes. "Compared with February, employment declined by more than 10% in all provinces, led by Quebec," with a loss of a staggering 821,000 jobs.

Nationwide, the "unemployment rate rose 5.2 percentage points in April to 13%."

Statistics Canada does note, however, that across the country, "almost all (97.0%) of the newly-unemployed were on temporary layoff [...] indicating that they expected to return to their former employer as the shutdown is relaxed."

The numbers are nonetheless striking, especially in major cities.

In the Montreal census metropolitan area, "the unemployment rate was 18.2% in April, an increase of 13.4 percentage points since February."

The city also "recorded the largest decline" in employment — 404,000 jobs lost — of Canada's three largest cities.

For comparison, "the unemployment rate in Montreal peaked at 10.2% during the 2008/2009 recession."

The impact of the health crisis was particularly swift among people aged 15 to 24 across the country.

These young adults, Statistics Canada notes, are "more likely to hold less secure jobs in hard-hit industries such as accommodation and food services."

"From February to April, employment among youth declined by 873,000 (-34.2%), while an additional 385,000 (or one in four) who remained employed in April lost all or the majority of their usual hours worked (not adjusted for seasonality)."

The labour force survey also offered insight into Canadians' mindsets.

"As of the week of April 12," it states, "about 4 in 10 Canadians (39.4%) who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours were concerned that they might lose their job or main source of self-employment income within four weeks."

"The proportion of workers concerned about their job security was highest among those who worked in the "other services" industry (29.2%), which includes personal care services, and in accommodation and food services (28.4%)."

As provinces move to gradually reopen businesses, they may also need to consider measures to revive their economies and further aid unemployed residents.

Stay tuned for more news.

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