State of the Labour Market

April Labour Force Survey: A Devastating Blow

Canadian job losses nearly double the record March decline.

Today’s job numbers start to complete the picture of just how devastating the COVID-19 crisis has been to the Canadian labour market. While April’s decline was a bit more modest than expected, that 6.4% of all Canadian adults could lose employment in a single month is staggering. 

It was clear that the April data was going to be brutal, but less certain was how the pain would be spread. Overall, there were both similarities and differences with the declines seen in March. Like the month prior, youth experienced the sharpest drops in employment rates, while the pace of job losses was once again fastest in accommodation and food services. However, employment in other areas of the economy, like construction and manufacturing, was hit hard in April, compared to relatively mild declines in March. 

April could mark the low-point for the labour market as provinces gradually re-open their economies, but we’ll have to wait and see. Applications for emergency benefits have climbed somewhat further since mid last month, while job postings on Indeed have stabilized, but at levels far below last year’s trend. As with daily life, it will be difficult for the job market to return to normal until the pandemic is firmly in the rear-view mirror. 

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