Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate continues to tick upward as the COVID-19 pandemic suffocates the economy.
The data shows the province’s unemployment rate increased by four percentage points and now sits at 11.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the employment rate dropped 5.3 percentage points and is now 56.7 per cent.
“We’re looking at drops in employment that have no parallel in modern history,” said Jason Childs, an economics professor at the University of Regina. “This has not been done before in this type of economy ever.”
The service, hospitality and construction industries have been hit hardest, he said.
From March to April, 20,200 men older than 25 lost their jobs, the survey said. Jobs losses for women over 25 came in at 19,800.
“Getting back to some semblance of an economy that’s working toward or near its capacity is going to be a real, real challenge,” Childs said.
In Canada, nearly two million jobs were lost in April alone.
While Saskatchewan is struggling, it isn’t faring as poorly as other provinces. Quebec, for example, has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 17 per cent.
Compared to other regions, Childs said Saskatchewan isn’t as service-dependent and wasn’t as restrictive in its shutdown.
Still, he said it could take decades to recover.
“This is a big hole to climb out of and nobody’s ever really climbed out of a hole this big before in a modern economy,” Childs said.
There certainly isn’t a how-to guide for climbing out of that hole.
Childs said continued income support, international trade, low interest rates and a non-restricted private sector could quicken recovery.
-With files from Jonathan Guignard
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