Months passed before a consensus formed that the Great Recession was even an economic downturn. The data slowly deteriorated, at least until Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. That left time for equivocation.
The coronavirus crisis has arrived more like an atomic explosion than a slow-burning fuse. But at least we can do away with all the qualifiers about what’s going on in the economy.
Statistics Canada on April 9 reported that employment decreased by more than one million positions in March, wiping out all the jobs created since the autumn of 2016. The collapse was eight times greater than the previous record for job losses in a month, which was 124,800 in January 2009. It was also larger than the entire drop in employment during the downturns of 2008/09, 1990/92 and 1980/81.
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