National unemployment rate hits new record even as economy adds jobs

Statistics Canada office

Statistics Canada reports a record high unemployment rate as the economy added 289,600 jobs in May, with businesses reopening amid easing public health restrictions.
The unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982 in more than four decades of comparable data.

The increase in the unemployment rate came as more people started looking for work.

The average economist estimate was for a loss of 500,000 jobs in May and for the unemployment rate to rise to 15.0 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The increase in the number of jobs comes after three million jobs were lost over March and April, and about 2.5 million more had their hours slashed.

Statistics Canada says the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours fell by 292,000 in May.

In Nova Scotia, the unemployment rate jumped 1.6 per cent to sit at 13.6 per cent in May.

The provincial economy added 400 net full-time and 8,100 net part-time jobs, but this was offset by a 17,900 net person increase in the labour force.

(With files from Bell Media's Charles Renshaw)