TORONTO – Ontario lost 403,000 jobs in March, driving the province’s unemployment rate to 7.6 percent.
The job loss, reported today by the province’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO), is more than four times larger than the previous record monthly job loss in January 2009, during the global financial crisis.
Ontario’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February, making the jump to 7.6 percent the largest monthly increase in the jobless rate on record.
Almost all the job losses were related to the Covid-19 pandemic that prompted a progressive province-wide shutdown of most non-essential activities beginning in mid-March.
The FAO estimates that about 1.2 million Ontario workers were directly affected by the shutdowns through either job losses or sharply reduced hours, representing almost one in six jobs in the province.
Both full-time (-249,000) and part-time (-154,000) employment declined sharply in March. Almost 80 percent of the job losses occurred in the private sector (-320,000).
Almost all major industry groups recorded lower employment in March with particularly steep job losses in the accommodation and food service sector (-119,600) and wholesale and retail trade (-87,600).
Young workers (ages 15-24), many of whom are employed in temporary or part-time positions, experienced a loss of 158,800 jobs, down -15.8 percent from February.
Female part-time workers were also more affected by the job losses in March, with employment down by 109,100 jobs or -12.4 percent.
The total number of hours worked in Ontario dropped dramatically, falling 13.1 percent compared to a year earlier.
The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances and trends in the provincial economy.