Saskatchewan job losses top 20,000 in March amid COVID-19 pandemic

Losses in Saskatchewan

Just under 21,000 people in Saskatchewan lost their jobs in March, bringing the unemployment rate higher to 7.3%. This reflects the first wave of layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part-time employment made up approximately 71.1% of job losses in March, while full-time employment contributed to 28.9% of lost jobs. 15,400 people also left the labour force market from February.

Losses were widely anticipated from the latest labour force survey, with some industries more affected than others. Statistics Canada surveyed households between March 15 and 21, which overlapped with many companies closing their doors and laying off staff as COVID-19 containment measures came into place.

The goods-producing sector saw a decline of 5,500 jobs across the province. This was mostly attributed to agriculture (-1,500); forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,400) and manufacturing (-3,000). However, slight increases were seen in utilities (100) and construction (200).

In the services-producing sector, the decline was 15,500. The biggest losses were seen in accommodation and food services (-7,200); educational services (-2,500); wholesale and retail trade (-2,200) and transportation and warehousing (-2,100).

Losses in the Saskatoon CMA

In the Saskatoon Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), job losses reached 800, with the unemployment rate increasing slightly higher to 7.1% from 6.5% in February. In March, the number of individuals entering the labour force grew by 5,200 people compared to February.

Note: Data is sourced from Statistics Canada and is seasonally adjusted.