Find us on...

Share on...


Login using...

New Search X

Canadian Employment (Apr) - May 8, 2020

Posted by Ron Neal on Friday, May 8th, 2020 at 7:14pm.

bcrea header


Canadian employment fell further in April by 2 million jobs (-11%, m/m), bringing cumulative losses to 3 million since February. The unemployment rate rose by 5.3 percentage points from 7.8% to 13%, as the impact from the closure of non-essential businesses and travel restrictions were not fully reflected in last month's job report. The last recession to come close to this was 1981/82 when the peak unemployment rate was 13.1%. The unemployment rate would have been 17.8% in April if adjusted to include those wanting to work (and had worked recently), but were unable to because of the pandemic. 

Job losses continued to spread across the country, with the largest declines in Ontario (-690k), Quebec (-560k), BC (-264k) and Alberta (-240k). The decline in employment was driven by the private sector (-1.87 million), while the public sector reported a smaller decline of -76.8k and self-employed were down by -43.1k. The most impacted industries continue to be in the service-sector, led by wholesale and retail trade (-14%) and accommodation and food services (-34.3%). The impact also spilled over to the goods-producing sector in April, led by declines in construction (-314K) and manufacturing (-267k), partially due to the closure of all construction sites in Quebec at the end of March. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by -15% (-2.8 million).   

Meanwhile, employment in BC fell by 264,000 jobs (-11%, m/m) in April, increasing the provincial unemployment rate by 4.3 percentage points from 7.2% to 11.5%. Three-quarters of the decline was in full-time work. Employment was down in all industries except for utilities. Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 16.4% (-421k) jobs. 

As restrictions around the pandemic are gradually eased in many provinces, we can expect some people to start returning to work, or have their hours worked increase. The magnitude and timing will largely depend on businesses and employees' willingness to return to work given ongoing health concerns. In April, there were about 3.8 million people who had some type of attachment to a specific job but were not working due to the pandemic, suggesting that they could return to the same job in the coming months. 

For more information, please contact:  

Brendon Ogmundson
Chief Economist
Kellie Fong

BCREA is the professional association for more than 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

Talk to our team to learn more

Request a Tour


Leave a Comment

The Neal Estate Team

The Neal Estate Team is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 4,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Team have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 

Join Us On Social Media