Nova Scotia loses 22,000 jobs in May, second only to Ontario

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The nearly empty streets of Halifax as lockdown measures took hold in late April were reflected in the high loss of jobs in May.  (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
The nearly empty streets of Halifax as lockdown measures took hold in late April were reflected in the high loss of jobs in May. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia and Ontario saw the biggest provincial decreases in employment in May, a result Statistics Canada linked to strict COVID-19 measures in both provinces.

Nova Scotia lost 22,000 jobs in May compared to April, a fall of 4.8 per cent. Statistics Canada said that was the biggest one-month fall since the early days of the pandemic.

"Losses in May impacted most major demographic groups, and both full- and part-time work," said the report from the Labour Force Survey.

The biggest losses were in retail, educational services, and accommodation and food services. Overall, Nova Scotia's unemployment rate rose 1.7 percentage points in May to 9.8 per cent.

Nova Scotia's employment rate was 54.2 per cent in May, down 3.3 percentage points from February 2020.

The report noted that Ontario was under stay-at-home orders in May and Nova Scotia was under a lockdown from late April.

"Combined, these two provinces accounted for most of the overall employment decline in May," the report said.

In the rest of Canada, employment rose in Saskatchewan, while the other provinces showed little change. The survey does not include the territories.

Ontario lost 32,000 jobs in May, a fall of 0.4 per cent. The province's unemployment rate is 9.3 per cent.

Overall, Canada lost 68,000 jobs in May; of those, 54,000 were part-time jobs.

The national unemployment rate sat at 8.2 per cent in May. That compares to 9.4 per cent in January 2021 and 13.7 per cent in May 2020.

Statistics Canada employees — all of whom were working from home — interviewed 41,500 people in May to produce the results.

Statistics Canada reported that employment fell during similar public health measures in spring 2020, but bounced back for summer 2020.

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