Reduced purchasing power more apparent in Canada's largest markets

by Ephraim Vecina on 29 Apr 2020

Unemployment has a disproportionate impact on the country’s largest housing markets, according to new Statistics Canada figures.

Across Canada, the employment sector declined by 5.3% from February to March, representing more than 1 million lost jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 7.8%, spurred by a record high 2.2% monthly increase.

Of particular concern is the sharp drop in employment in the private sector (down 6.7%), which was at a rate nearly double that of the public sector (down 3.7%).

“Unemployment increased by 413,000 (+36.4%), largely due to temporary layoffs,” Statistics Canada said. “In addition, the number of Canadians who had worked recently and wanted to work, but did not meet the official definition of unemployed, increased by 193,000.”

The agency’s March figures also indicated that unemployment rates in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal have experienced rapid increases last month.

The trend is compounding the already severe socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to real estate information portal Better Dwelling.

Toronto’s unemployment rate stood at 7.8% as of March, having grown 11.42% annually. Meanwhile, Vancouver saw its share of unemployed workers shoot up by 68.89% year-over-year to reach 7.6% – a sharp about-face from the numbers traditionally associated with the city’s robust labour sector.

Of the top housing markets, Montreal suffered the highest unemployment rate last month, increasing by 51.67% annually to end up at 9.1%.

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