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Canada adds nearly 1 million jobs in June, blowing past estimates

Last Updated Jul 14, 2020 at 7:49 am CDT

Summary

Canada added nearly a million jobs in June as the economy started to reopen amid COVID-19


The addition of jobs in June brings Canada's unemployment rate to 12.3 per cent


Unemployment rate hit 13.7 per cent in May, highest rate in more than four decades


OTTAWA – More Canadians are heading back to work as the country slowly reopens its economy, according to the latest unemployment figure from Statistics Canada.

The Canadian economy added 952,900 jobs in June, far above the average estimate for a gain of 700,000, the agency says.

The addition of nearly a million jobs brings the unemployment rate to 12.3 per cent. This comes after May marked a record rate of 13.7 per cent.

“While this (May) was the largest monthly decline on record, the unemployment rate remains much higher than February, when it was 5.6%,” Statistics Canada says.

In May, 289,600 jobs were filled.

“With these two consecutive increases, employment in June was 1.8 million lower than in February,” Statistics Canada says. “The number of Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 dropped by 823,000 in June. Combined with declines recorded in May, this left absences from work 1.4 million above pre-COVID levels.”

A step forward

Despite more people re-entering the workforce, more people were also looking for work.

While the addition of hundreds of thousands of jobs is a step in the right direction, the still-high unemployment rate shows more work still needs to be done to help Canadians weather the economic impacts of COVID-19.

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In January, well before the coronavirus outbreak forced the federal and provincial governments to impose restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, the unemployment rate sat at 5.5 per cent.

However, it wasn’t until March that the economy showed the real impacts of closures and restrictions.

In March and April, Canada lost three million jobs, and more than two million people’s working hours were cut.