Statistics Canada to release May jobs numbers, expected to show more losses


OTTAWA — Statistics Canada will provide a new snapshot today of the job market as it stood last month with expectations that figures will show a continued bleeding of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than three million jobs were lost over March and April as restrictions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus were put in place.

The average economist estimate is for the loss of 500,000 jobs in May and for the unemployment rate to rise to 15.0 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

If that happens, it will push the unemployment rate past the 13.1 per cent set in December 1982 to its highest level in more than four decades of comparable data.

The actual figure will be influenced by how many people gave up looking for a job because they are not counted in the unemployment rate.

In April, the unemployment rate would have been 17.8 per cent instead of 13 per cent had the report counted among the unemployed those who stopped looking for work — likely because the economic shutdown has limited job opportunities.