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Economy will grow in 2021, barring another shutdown: Forecast

National unemployment should peak at 13.7 per cent


June 22, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Canada's economy will shrink by 8.2 per cent this year, according to the Conference Board of Canada. (pololia/Adobe Stock)

OTTAWA — The Conference Board of Canada says the economy may have already begun to recover from the deepest recession on record if the country can avoid another national COVID-related shutdown.

The private sector group’s quarterly forecast estimates Canada’s economy will shrink by 8.2 per cent this year, after about three million jobs were lost in March and April due to COVID shutdowns.

It also projects Canada’s national unemployment rate will peak at 13.7 per cent in the second quarter ending June 30, the highest since the measure was first recorded in 1976.

But the report says the addition of nearly 300,000 jobs in May and continued easing of restrictions in June probably indicate the pandemic’s worst impact on the labour market has passed.

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It’s projecting the addition of another 1.3 million jobs in the July to September quarter, dropping the national unemployment rate to 10.5 per cent.

The Conference Board says that if the country can avoid a second national shutdown, Canada’s economy could grow by 6.7 per cent in 2021 and by 4.8 per cent in 2022.