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Unemployment in Canada - Statistics & Facts

Between 2008 and 2009, Canada’s economy entered a recession phase. During the economic recession, Canada’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.3 percent, which was an increase of 2.2 percent over the pre-recession unemployment level, and roughly amounted to 1.52 million unemployed persons. By 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this rate had risen again, reaching almost ten percent, while the number of unemployed people had risen to 1.89 million. The unemployment rate refers to the proportion of people in the labor force who are currently not working and are either available or looking for employment. An economic recession is a period of time, when the overall economy declines. Usually, economic recessions are temporary, and part of a normal business-cycle. Economic recession and increased unemployment are linked, as business sales and revenues decline which consequently causes businesses to stop expanding.

The issue of increased unemployment had particularly severe implications on young adults trying to enter the labor market after school to look for their first job. Between 2008 and 2009, youth unemployment increased by 3.4 points. It reached 16.7 percent at the end of 2020. After the economic recession, the average duration of unemployment rose to 21.3 weeks in 2011, before falling to 15.2 weeks on average as of 2020. The most common reasons for being unemployed given by Canadian respondents were "not working in the last year" or "never worked" in 2020.

The recovery from the economic recession in Canada also correlated with growth in employment. As of 2020, there was a total of 18.06 million employed persons in Canada. This was an increase of roughly an additional million employed individuals, compared to 2008 employment data.The employment rate among people with higher education levels was generally above the national average, at 70 percent for those with a Bachelor's degree in 2020.

In 2020, the highest number of jobs among Canadian provinces was in Ontario with more than 6.86 million employed or self-employed persons. In that year, the industry providing the most jobs was retail trade, with a little less than two million Canadians employed.

It is projected that the Canadian economy will continue to grow and that the unemployment rate in Canada until 2026 will remain at between six and seven percent. According to the Canadian employment growth forecast, over the period of 2019 to 2028, the industry with the fastest growth, at an annual rate of 2.2 percent on average, will be the health care industry.

Interesting statistics

In the following 3 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Unemployment in Canada".

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