The Canadian unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in August from July’s 10.9 percent with the addition of 246,000 jobs, Statistics Canada said Friday.

August’s number brings the four-month total of new jobs to almost 2 million since May. But because of the plunge in March and April, Canada still has 1.1 million fewer paid workers than it did in February before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Statistics Canada said that the unemployment rate in August would have been 13 percent had it included people who wanted a job but did not look for work. By mid-August, public health restrictions substantially eased across Canada and more businesses and workplaces had re-opened.

The number of Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 decreased 259,000 in August. Combined with declines in May, June and July, this left coronavirus-related absences from work at 713,000 above February levels.

As of the week of Aug. 9-15, the total number of Canadian workers affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown stood at 1.8 million.

In April, this number reached a peak of 5.5 million, including a drop of 3 million in employment and a 2.5 million-increase in COVID-19-related absences from work.

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