April 2020 Labour Force Survey Report: A Snapshot

By on May 8, 2020 at 1:31pm

As expected, the April Labour Force Survey Report from Statistics Canada provided a clearer picture of COVID-19’s swift and dramatic impact on the Canadian job market, which had seen months of low unemployment prior to the pandemic.

In April, unemployment hit 13%, up from 7.8% in March. That is the highest rate recorded since comparable data became available in 1975, second only to the 13.1% unemployment rate seen in December 1982. 

Largest job losses in accommodation and food services

All major industry sectors reported job losses. Accommodation and food services was impacted most, while retail trade, construction and manufacturing also experienced steep declines. 

Industries which continued to be relatively less affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown included utilities; public administration; and finance, insurance and real estate.

One potential bright spot: Nearly all of the newly unemployed workers — 97% — reported that they had been temporarily laid off, and they expect to return to work as businesses recover.

What employers need to know

Despite the large number of pandemic-related job losses, there is hiring going on. 

But employers have had to adjust their hiring approach to fit the current environment. That includes conducting remote job interviews and creating a remote onboarding experience

Another key challenge for companies looking to hire is the lack of resources to manage the process, especially since it is more complicated now. 

Many businesses are also taking a more cautious approach to staffing certain roles, choosing to engage highly skilled temporary professionals until conditions stabilize. 

The following blog posts can help you hire and manage a remote team:

What job seekers need to know

It goes without saying that many job seekers feel extremely discouraged by the current hiring environment. But keep in mind that the April Labour Force Report doesn’t provide a full picture of the employment landscape. Companies in various industries are hiring right now. No doubt, you’ll need to work hard to find opportunities that fit your skills and experience. But they are out there.

An increasing number of companies are hiring remote workers now that they have seen how effective working from home can be. 

If you’re new to remote work, it can take some adjustment. We have several up-to-date resources that offer tips on how to find and succeed in remote jobs. Here are links to some of them; you can find even more on the Robert Half blog:


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