The Canadian economy saw an overall decline in gross domestic product (GDP) of 9% for March 2020. This is the single largest one-month decline since records began being kept in 1961. For context, the first quarter of 2009, directly following the 2008 financial crisis, saw a contraction of 8.7%.
According to Statistics Canada, GDP is a core economic measure of the health of the Canadian economy.
Traditionally, Stats Can delivers GDP data two months after a reference period; however, given the demand for “trusted information” during this unprecedented time, the agency has provided a ‘flash estimate‘ for the month of March.
Once a complete set of survey and administrative data information is made available to Stats Can, this estimate will be expected to change.
Given the 9% drop in March, Stat Can is predicting an overall decline in GDP of 2.6% in the first quarter of 2020.
Among the industries hardest hit by the drastic measures put in place by governments across the country to stop the spread of COVID-19 are “travel- and tourism-related industries, such as personal transportation, restaurants and accommodation. Major declines have also occurred in personal services, retailing (other than food), entertainment and sporting events, and movie exhibition.”
Despite how hard the economy was hit in March, Stats Can says the health sector, food distribution and online retailing and streaming are all areas that continued to see growth despite the pandemic.
Last week, Stats Can reported that more than one million Canadians had already lost their jobs and the unemployment rate saw its largest single-month jump on record.
Applications for federal support are currently open to all those who’ve lost wages due to the impact of COVID-19.