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Canada's employment downturn

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By Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté and Jason Gilmore

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Since employment last peaked in October 2008, employment declined by 2.3%, or 400,000 individuals. Losses were concentrated among low-pay and short-tenure jobs, recent immigrants, youth, workers with lower levels of education, and lone mothers.

Employment also fell for those in the manufacturing sector, in permanent positions, and for those with longer hours.

Employment declined faster during the first few months of the downturn than in previous recessions, but employment levels stabilized sooner this time. As a result, the losses after 12 months were similar in proportion to those in the early 1990s downturn and proportionately smaller than those in the early 1980s downturn.

Contrary to what happened in the previous downturns, the U.S. unemployment rate spiked earlier and higher than the Canadian rate. This was the first time since 1982 that the U.S. unemployment rate surpassed the Canadian rate.