NEW POLL: COVID-19 Pandemic Having Severe Impacts On Unemployed Canadians

A new survey released today provides the first comprehensive picture of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on unemployed Canadians. The survey found that the COVID-19 pandemic is having severe, and potentially long-term, impacts on Canadians looking for work.

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The Harris Poll survey, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, polled over 1,000 unemployed Canadians at the end of October 2020 and found the COVID-19 pandemic is the most commonly reported reason for their current unemployment, a barrier to returning to work for most and a key factor in why many are still unemployed.

“The workforce has been hit hard this year by COVID-19, and it’s understandable unemployed Canadians are becoming more discouraged the longer the pandemic lingers,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “This new survey gives us great insight into the plight of the unemployed and how they are staying afloat.”

COVID-19 pandemic is the most commonly cited reason unemployed Canadians lost their job.

According to the survey, almost 1 in 3 unemployed Canadians (29%) say they lost their job/their position was eliminated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This impact is similar across both genders and generations. Other reasons for their current unemployment include being laid off (14%) and quitting (10%).

Thirty-eight per cent (38%) have been unemployed for six months or less, and 62% have been unemployed for more than six months, with 21% unemployed for more than two years.

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COVID-19 isn’t just resulting in job loss, it’s making it harder for unemployed Canadians to find a new job.

According to the survey, even with the concerns around health and safety brought about by COVID-19, 81% of unemployed Canadians would return to work if offered a job right now. But more than three-quarters (77%) say COVID has made it more difficult to find a job in their field, with half (50%) saying it has made it “much more difficult.”

Despite applying for jobs (unemployed Canadians spent on average 11 hours in the previous week applying for jobs and applied for an average 13 jobs in the previous month), two-thirds (67%) did not obtain a single job interview in the previous month.

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