Canada’s economy shrank by almost 20% in March and April, but turnaround began in May

Canada’s economy shrank by 11.6 per cent in April, the biggest plunge on record, following March’s contraction of  7.5 per cent as COVID-19 lockdowns began.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that all 20 categories the data agency tracks were lower, and they added up to the biggest monthly plunge since record-keeping began in 1961.

April’s plunge means the economy at the end of April had lost almost one fifth of the output it produced at the end of February.

While bleak, the numbers did offer a modest bright spot, as preliminary data suggested that April was the low point, with GDP for May projecting a slight uptick after bottoming out in March and April.

“The good news, such as it is, is that there are plenty of signs that April will mark the nadir, and StatsCan’s first estimate for May is a moderate 3 per cent rebound in GDP from the depths,” Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter said of the numbers.

“We expect a bigger bounce in June as the economy re-opened more fully.”