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Unemployment reaches all-time high in 1982

The Story

A crisis in the U.S. economy brings on mass layoffs and government bailouts for big business. The impact is felt in Canada too, where the government funds job-creation schemes to keep people employed. Still, the recession has meant almost two million people are jobless, the number creeping up month by month to peak at 12.8 per cent. In this year-end review from CBC-TV, the troubled economy and its effect on unemployment is one of the top stories of 1982.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Jan. 2, 1983
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Mike Duffy
Duration: 5:46

Did You know?

• In 1981 inflation (the rise in the cost of goods and services) in the United States was running at 14 per cent, an unacceptably high level. The U.S. Federal Reserve responded by raising interest rates, which hovered between 17 and 20 per cent for most of that year. The result: a recession. • In Canada, the unemployment rate climbed from 8.6 per cent in December 1981 to 12.8 per cent a year later. It was the highest rate Canada has seen since 1934, when the rate was estimated at 19.5 per cent.


• Unemployment for December 1982 was highest in Newfoundland and Labrador at 18.1 per cent and lowest in Alberta, where the oil industry was booming, at 10.6 per cent.


• For 1982 the nationwide unemployment rate was 11 per cent, far above the 7.8 per cent the government had predicted in November 1981.


• The recession's effect on the unemployment insurance fund became evident by mid-1982. Payments for the first half of that year added up to $4.1 billion, close to the total of $4.8 billion for all of 1981.


• Finance Minister Marc Lalonde announced a boost in unemployment insurance premiums in October 1982. For every $100 in insurable earnings, employees would pay $2.30 into the fund, up from $1.65. Employers' contributions would rise from $2.31 to $3.22. Despite the increase, the unemployment insurance system was projected to be almost $3 billion in the red for 1983. 



On the Dole: Employment Insurance in Canada more