According to Statistics Canada, unemployment in Canada has reached its highest level in the agency’s history.

Labour market statistics published on Friday show that the unemployment rate in May reached 13.7%, increasing slightly from April.

“The unemployment rate was 13.7% in May, the highest rate recorded since comparable data became available in 1976. In February, prior to the COVID-19 economic shutdown, the unemployment rate was 5.6%. It increased to 7.8% in March and 13.0% in April,” StatsCan said.

StatsCan reported that despite increasing unemployment, 289,600 new jobs were created as provinces began relaxing public health restrictions.

In May Canada lost a total of 201,000 jobs, being the total number of jobs lost since the coronavirus pandemic to approximately 3.2 million. 

One of the factors driving the increase in unemployment is that more people have started looking for work, particularly students who have just finished their studies for the summer. The unemployment rate for returning students was 40.3% in May.

Stats Canada notes that self-employed people, including business owners, are still being hit harder by public health orders than employees. 

“In May, among incorporated self-employed workers who worked zero hours for COVID-19-related reasons, less than 1 in 10 (7.8%) received pay (not adjusted for seasonality). This compared with less than 1 in 4 (23.1%) employees who worked zero hours (not adjusted for seasonality).”

In March Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for small and medium businesses. Businesses had to show a decline in revenue of at least 30% from the same period in 2019 in order to qualify. 

Last week bureaucrats admitted that the wage subsidy failed to help most businesses. Of the $76 billion budgeted for the program, just 10.4% had been claimed.

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