Active COVID-19 cases in the Saskatoon Region have been trending lower week by week, moving from 921 cases in January down to 229 mid-March. Along with February’s Labour Force Survey results, this sets the stage for cautious optimism regarding Saskatoon’s labour market recovery.
The Saskatoon CMA recovered 600 jobs in February. The CMA’s labour market recovery rose to 67.3% of jobs that were lost during March and April, up from 64.5% in January. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 8.4%, from 8.6% in January, as a result of more jobs being added than the numbers of people entering the labour force.
Employment for Saskatchewan jumped another 2,300 in February, following a gain of 2,200 in January. With 3,100 people entering the labour force, however, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.3% for the province, up from 7.2% in January. Employment gains were primarily driven by goods-producing sectors including construction and manufacturing. Services saw a decline, with continued uneven recovery across the sector.
Some uncertainty still exists regarding the spread of variant COVID-19 cases in parts of the province. It remains to be seen whether active cases will continue to trend lower or whether the Saskatoon Region will experience a third wave of the pandemic.
With vaccination underway in Canada, the OECD is anticipating a faster recovery for the Canadian economy than previously expected, primarily because the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, is expecting a much faster economic recovery as a result of their rapid vaccination progress. This is key for Saskatchewan, as the province exports large amounts of agricultural products to the States.