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Coronavirus Cases Drop To Two-Month Low

OTTAWA (MNI)

Canada lost more jobs than economists predicted in April and the weakness shifted to full-time work as governments imposed major pandemic lockdowns for the third time, despite recent data showing the economy's resilience.

Employment fell by 207,100 according to Statistics Canada figures Friday, greater than the expected decline of 175,000. The jobless rate also jumped to 8.1% from 7.5%, more than the expected 7.8%.

Full-time jobs fell by 129,400 on the month and lower-paying part-time jobs by 77,800. The job declines across Canada's provinces and by industries were still dominated by trends seen in earlier waves of Covid, with big losses in retail and hospitality and regions where health shutdowns were more severe such as Ontario and British Columbia.

Other reports have pointed to unexpectedly strong performance in Canada's economy, including annualized growth of at least 6.5% in the first quarter, and many experts say job losses will be quickly unwound whenever businesses re-open. Progress obtaining vaccines has also motivated the BOC recently to taper QE purchases and advance its view of when it could raise interest rates to the second half of next year.

The April job loss was smaller than gains over the previous two months of about 562,000, which along with Canada's generous government relief checks suggests domestic demand will remain stable. Part of a decline in hours worked on the month reflected a one-time shift in spring break in some public schools as a way of mitigating the spread of Covid-19, which reduced work by teachers.

MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 | greg.quinn@marketnews.com