Canada's national statistics agency is set this morning to release a snapshot of the labour force from March as the COVID-19 virus plunged the country into economic uncertainty.
Statistics Canada reports the economy lost 1,011,000 jobs last month, which lifts the national unemployment rate up to 7.8 per cent.
The 2.2 per cent increase is the worst single month increase in the last 40 years of data and is comparable to rates back in October 2010.
The number of people considered unemployed rose by 413,000 between February and March, nearly all of it fuelled by temporary layoffs, meaning workers expected their jobs back in six months.
It also warned that the number of people absent from work for a full week who weren't paid - which hit a seasonally adjusted rate of 55.8 per cent - "may be an indication of future job losses".
RBC senior economists Nathan Janzen and Josh Nye forecast a 10-per-cent unemployment rate for March, which would indicate a loss of one million jobs.
The March report, based on a survey of households from March 15 to March 21, may be just a preview of even uglier numbers in the coming months as the economy heads for possibly its sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.
Job losses were felt across all provinces, with the largest in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
Their pair said in a research note that with millions more applying for federal aid - nearly one million people applied on Monday for an emergency benefit, roughly what the EI program sees in a six-month period - the national unemployment rate was now potentially north of 15 per cent.