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Statistics Canada says first-quarter GDP worst showing since 2009

Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Statistics Canada is expected to report today that economic growth swung negative in March and the first quarter as a whole due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Statistics Canada reports the worst GDP showing since the 2009 recession

Stats Canada says the gross domestic product dropped 2.1 per cent in the first quarter because of the pandemic

The GDP fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 per cent versus an estimated 10 per cent

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Statistics Canada says the economy in the first quarter had its worst showing since 2009 as steps taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced businesses across the country to close their doors and lay off workers.

Statistics Canada says gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 per cent in the first three months of 2020.

The collapse came as gross domestic product for March fell 7.2 per cent as restrictions by public health officials began rolling out during the month, including school closures, border shutdowns and travel restrictions.

Ontario teachers’ strike and rail blockades in February, as well as a drop in oil prices had made for a rocky start in the first part of the quarter, according to Statistics Canada before the COVID-19-related shutdowns.

Household spending was down 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the steepest quarterly drop ever recorded.

The average economist estimate had been for a nine per cent drop in gross domestic product for March, while the average estimate for the first quarter as a whole is for a GDP pullback at an annualized pace of 10 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The current April to June quarter is expected to be worse.

Meanwhile, shares at Canopy Growth Corp. are tanking after a reported loss of $1.3 billion in its fourth quarter due to impairment and restructuring charges as the cannabis company said it would reset its strategic focus.