This March, active COVID-19 cases have risen, thanks in part to increased transmission of variants of concern, but so too has the Saskatoon Region’s labour market recovery.
The Saskatoon CMA recovered 700 jobs in March, with labour market recovery rising to 70.6% of jobs that were lost during March and April 2020. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 8.2%, from 8.4% in January, as a result of more jobs being recovered than the number of people entering the labour force.
Saskatchewan experienced no net employment change in March, and the unemployment rate remained at 7.3%, slightly lower than the Canadian average of 7.5%. Although total employment did not change, 1,900 full-time jobs were lost, while 1,900 part-time positions were added.
In goods-producing sectors, employment gains were driven by construction. All other goods-producing industries saw a decline in jobs. The services-producing sector saw gains primarily in wholesale and retail trade; professional, scientific and technical services; and health care and social assistance.
Despite ongoing vaccination across the province, variant COVID-19 cases are spreading, potentially impacting economic recovery in the coming months. As a result, many experts are now calling for greater action to stop the spread of the third wave.
Although the virus is still proliferating, the International Monetary Fund recently increased their economic forecast for Canada to 5%, 1.4% higher than previous outlooks. This upgrade was the IMF’s highest among advanced economies, suggesting cautious optimism for the year ahead.