The Canadian unemployment rate rose to 11.7 per cent in March, marking the first time since the depths of the financial crisis that it exceeded the 10-year average.
The rate, which includes people seeking help seeking employment and those who are discouraged from looking for work, has been climbing since June, according to Statistics Canada.
The rate is the lowest it has been since July 2012.
“This is the biggest jump in unemployment we’ve seen since June,” Statistics Canada economist Jason Mercer said.
The unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent as of March 31, and the jobless rate was 10.7 percent at the end of the month.
It is a far cry from the 17.2 per cent rate it hit in the third quarter of 2015.
There were 6,700 fewer jobs in March than a year ago, and that number rose to 6,919, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
There are now more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available, and job seekers are turning to online job postings more frequently.
That’s because of a spike in job-seekers taking advantage of temporary workers’ allowance programs.
The number of Canadians seeking help for unemployment fell from 2.7 million in February to 2.3 million in March.
The latest data from Statistics Canada shows a significant drop in people in the labour force seeking help, from a high of 2.8 million in the first quarter of the year to 1.6 million in April.
It was the lowest level since the third-quarter of 2014, when there were 1.8.
Those looking for help are now turning to the internet more frequently, Mercer said, as a result of a slowdown in the economy.
“It is likely that the labour market is slowing down further,” Mercer said in a report released Thursday.
The economy is slowing because of weak consumer spending and job cuts, he added.
The Canadian dollar was trading at about 69 US cents US. (Reuters)