New data from Statistics Canada shows Canada’s economy suffered its sharpest quarterly drop since the 2009 financial crisis in the first three months of this year.
Economists had anticipated a 10 per cent decline.
The agency also released preliminary estimates for April that show an 11 per cent plunge in output, versus a 7.2 per cent drop in March when coronavirus restrictions were first imposed halfway through the month.
The new figures come a week after Statistics Canada reported that retail sales fell 10 per cent in March as non-essential business began shutting their doors in the middle of the month due to the COVID-19 pandemic — a plunge that was more than twice as bad as the previous record of 4.5 per cent, set in February 1998.
The 8.2 per cent pace of contraction, the CBC’s Pete Evans reports, puts Canada right in the middle of its G7 peers.
Canada’s economy did worse than Japan’s, which shrank at a 3.4 per cent pace in the first quarter.
But Canada fared much better than Italy and France, which saw their economies shrink at paces of 17.7 and 21.4 per cent in the same period.
Real GDP in the United States fell 5 per cent, the statistical agency said.
Evan notes that while the vast majority of the contraction came in March when the pandemic hit, January and February’s numbers weren’t overly strong to begin with, due to pre-existing drags such as rail blockades across the country, and a teacher strike in Ontario in February.
With files from CBC News (Pete Evans), The Canadian Press