A Total Of 1.55 Million Canadians Applied For Jobless Claims In Late March

Canadian jobless claims continue to grow at an accelerated rate as the coronavirus pandemic forces more businesses to shut down.

In the 10 days between March 16 and March 25, a total of 1.55 million Canadians applied for jobless benefits, according to Statistics Canada. That represents about 8% of Canada’s labour force.

The latest figure includes the 929,000 unemployment applications in the seven days through March 22, along with about an additional 620,000 claims in the first three days of last week.

The sharp rise in layoffs highlights how fast Canada’s economy has stopped, forcing the federal government in Ottawa to increase a wage subsidy program to keep more workers on payrolls. On a daily basis, claims averaged about 207,000 in the last three days of the data, compared with about 133,000 in the seven days before that.