Canada

Canadian economy contracted 5.4% in 2020, worst year on record

A closed sign is seen in the window of a small business.

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy posted its worst showing on record in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country, shutting down businesses and putting millions out of work.

Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product shrank 5.4% in 2020, the steepest annual decline since comparable data was first recorded in 1961.

The drop for the year was due to the shutdown of large swaths of the economy in March and April during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that crushed the economy.

Since then, economic activity has slowly and steadily grown.

Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6% in the fourth quarter of last year, down from an annualized growth rate of 40.6% in the third quarter.

That was higher than expected, with financial data firm Refinitiv’s average economist estimate at 7.5%.

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