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Canada’s unemployment rate reaches record 13.7%

Canada added 290,000 jobs in May; best 1-month gain
WATCH: The addition of 290,000 Canadian jobs in May marks a new record for this country. But as Mike Armstrong reports, the economic gain follows two months of historic job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions of people are still out of work.

Statistics Canada reports a record high unemployment rate as the economy added 289,600 jobs in May, with businesses reopening as authorities eased public health restrictions linked to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982 in more than four decades of comparable data.

CANADIAN UNEMPLOYMENT

The increase in the unemployment rate came as more people started looking for work.

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The average economist estimate was 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.

READ MORE: U.S. unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

The increase in the number of jobs comes after three million jobs were lost over March and April, and about 2.5 million more had their hours slashed.

Statistics Canada says the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours fell by 292,000 in May.

That some Canadians are returning to the workforce is an “encouraging” sign, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said, speaking to reporters on Friday.

The numbers come as roughly 1.2 million workers have stopped accessing the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), she noted.

But, Qualtrough added, “there’s still a long way to go.”