-A A +A
Distress Signals: Canada’s GDP Contraction in March 2020

In this edition of Graphic Intelligence, we examine the earliest available GDP numbers by industry amid the COVID-19 crisis. Overall, Canada’s GDP shrank by 7.2 percent relative to February 2020, with arts, entertainment and recreation most affected at -42.2 percent. Also severely affected were air transportation at -41.8 percent, food services and drinking places at 39.6 percent, and accommodation services at -31.2 percent.

More positively, forestry and logging grew by 7.1 percent relative to Feb. 2020,  and rail transportation grew by 4.9 percent following a particularly sluggish February. While these numbers do not reflect the full extent of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of lost jobs and income, they provide a glimpse of the severe impact it has had on Canada’s economy.

As we move towards recovery, it is important to consider more high-frequency data on the crisis’ economic impact by industry. The institute’s COVID-19 dashboard and RBC’s COVID Consumer Spending Tracker are examples of real-time data sources policymakers should leverage to make their decisions.

For information on what real time data can tell us about COVID-19’s impact on our economy today, read “Our tracker shows emerging signs of recovery, but we are not in the clear,” by Mariam Ragab.