The recession hit home where Canadians live last month as a massive 129,000 workers joined the ranks of the unemployed and the country’s jobless rate surged to 7.2 per cent.
It was the worst monthly employment drop in at least three decades, topping figures seen in either of the two previous recessions in the 1980s and 1990s.
Almost all the jobs were full-time and were mostly in a battered manufacturing sector that has been most affected by the severe downturn in the United States.
The carnage was everywhere. Ontario shed 71,000 jobs, half in the manufacturing sector. British Columbia and Quebec workers were also hit hard with losses of 35,000 and 26,000 respectively.
Since October, when most economists say the global recession hit Canada’s shores, the country has lost a whopping 213,000 jobs, wiping out a year’s gains.
Somebody get Guinness on the horn — Statistics Canada calls this “the largest employment decrease since the agency began keeping what it described as comparable figures in 1976.” Highly “regrettable” hemorrhaging, as hapless Finance Minister Jim Flaherty blandly put it last night. Understatement as performance art — I love our (probationary!) Conservative government.
And let’s not be Negative Nancys. Displaying that keen sense of priorities that sets apart the Queensway elite from the scrum, Chantal Hebert proudly reports that civility has finally returned to the House of Commons, welcome news that should help salve the pain of economic woes. Try not to rejoice too boisterously (not that y’all can, um, afford to celebrate with anything more extravegant than a bottle of Baby Duck and a box of Kraft Dinner).
Anyway, here’s hoping those 129,000 newly unemployed individuals are all eligible for EI.