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Ontario's unemployment rate not seen since 1993

Province lost close to 690,000 jobs last mount from economic shutdown
CFIB small business photo 1
(Canadian Federation of Independent Business photo)

Ontario lost 689,200 jobs in April, bringing the province’s employment down to its lowest level since late 2009.

The unemployment rate climbed to 11.3 per cent in April, its highest since June 1993.

The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released a new report on May 15 looking at Ontario’s labour market results for April, during the ongoing economic shutdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAO reports nearly all the job losses were related to the government-directed closure of non-essential activities starting in mid-March.

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Since then, an estimated 2.2 million Ontario workers – nearly one in three jobs in the province – have been directly affected through either job losses (1.1 million) or sharply reduced hours (1.1 million).

Among the report's other highlights are that almost 87 per cent of the job losses between February and April occurred in the private sector (-947,500), while public sector employment (-88,700) and self-employment (-55,700) recorded relatively smaller declines.

Part-time workers lost jobs at more than twice the pace (-27.9 per cent) compared to full-time workers (-11.5 per cent).

Workers in industries with below-average wages (including wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and food services) have accounted for seven in 10 jobs lost since February.

Job losses have also been more pronounced for temporary workers (-28.0 per cent) and youth (-32.4 per cent).

Since February, job losses among women (-577,200) have been somewhat larger than for men (-514,800).