Data from Statistics Canada suggests Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Data from Statistics Canada suggests Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Canada’s economy likely suffered its worst year on record, shrank by 5%: StatsCan

The flash estimate is worse than 1982 when the economy contracted by 3.2 per cent

Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record as the national statistics agency’s preliminary estimate showed a contraction of 5.1 per cent in 2020.

The flash estimate, which has yet to be finalized, is worse than 1982 when the economy contracted by 3.2 per cent, which was the worst over the course of six decades of comparable data.

Not even at the height of the global financial crisis just over a decade ago were things as bad as they were last year when the real gross domestic product fell 2.9 per cent in 2009.

Statistics Canada said it expects to finalize the numbers in the coming weeks.

The drop is largely due to steep declines in March and April as large swaths of the economy were shut down during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, economic activity has slowly and steadily grown.

Statistics Canada said Friday the economy grew 0.7 per cent in November, marking the seventh straight month of gains after the steep drops in the spring. The growth followed a 0.4 per cent increase in October.

It also came with the backdrop of positive news about vaccines and a presidential election south of the border where Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump.

Stock market activity increased as market sentiments improved, as the finance and insurance sector grew by 1.3 per cent in November.

READ MORE: Canadian economy lost 63,000 jobs in Dec., first decline since April

Mining saw an increase in demand for things like potash and non-metallic minerals. Likewise, the oil and gas sector saw gains as facilities in Alberta restarted production.

The retail sector was up by 1.1 per cent in November, including growth of 6.1 per cent in the food and beverage subsector that Statistics Canada attributes to higher activity in grocery stores, along with a boost in business for beer, wine and liquor stores.

The agency also said its preliminary estimate for December shows growth of 0.3 per cent, even as much of the country headed into heavy restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and jobs were lost.

The preliminary estimate for the fourth quarter shows an annualized growth rate of 7.8 per cent.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote that the figures suggest the economy healed more than expected in the final months of 2020.

“That said, the economy will only be able to outrun the second wave of the virus for so long,” Mendes says in a note.

“With unemployment rising in December and public health officials being forced to tighten restrictions even further in January, the situation likely became more dire in the new year.”

Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Qualicum Beach will put aside money for future purchase of electric vehicle and to put up charging stations. (Photo Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions)
Qualicum Beach to put aside funds for purchase of electric vehicles, charging stations

Citizens can donate funds to help reduce emissions in town

Ecko Aleck, recipient of $5,000 award for Indigenous entrepreneurs presented by Young Entrepreneurs Symposium. (photo courtesy of Adam Ziorio Photography)
Qualicum Beach woman one of 20 winners in nationwide challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Ecko Aleck plans to create youth council with paid consultation

(PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach voters head back to the polls on May 15

Byelection will be held to replace former councillor (now MLA) Adam Walker

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read