Canada Jobless Claims to Hit Just Under 1 Million, US Could See upto 3 Million Initial Claims

Just under 1 million Canadians applied for jobless claims last week; approximately 5 percent of the labour force. In a piece on BNNBloomberg, a senior government official with knowledge of the data indicated the new figure sits at 929,000 claims. This coming approximately one week after Justin Trudeau indicated the number was coming in north of 500,000 claims.

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The spike in data is the result of a national economy deteriorating as citizens stay home and businesses shut the doors in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19. We have seen varying Q2 GDP forecasts from Goldman Sachs predicting a 24% decline, to Morgan Stanley predicting 30%, and James Bullard of the St Louis Fed suggesting upto a 50% drop.

Economists polled by Bloomberg, showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment is expected to increase to a record-breaking 1.5 million for the week ended March 21. The previous week saw the number jump from 70,000 claims to 281,000 claims. The previous one week record occurred in October 1982, when 695,000 claims were filed.

In a report from March 20, 2020, Wells Fargo stated, “Early state reports this week indicate initial claims for the week ended March 21 will rocket well over one million next week—and possibly as high as three million. That would surpass anything we saw during the financial crisis and could be upwards of three times the all-time high in claims set back in 1982.”

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