With COVID-19 cases at high levels relative to Saskatchewan’s population, restrictions for the province remained in place throughout January 2021, which continued to affect consumer demand and thus employment.
According to Statistics Canada, employment in the Saskatoon CMA fell by 400 in January. The unemployment rate rose to 8.6%, up from 8.2% in December, as a result of more people entering the labour force (+200) while employment fell.
Province-wide, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate of 7.2% was the lowest in Canada; the national rate rose to 9.4% in January.
Challenges to economic recovery in January, and indeed Q1 of 2021, have been expected, so these stats aren’t surprising – particularly with the slowdown in the hospitality industry.
We continue to see a shift in spending from services (e.g. bars, restaurants, movies, etc.) to goods (e.g. groceries, renovations, home entertainment) due to the ‘Covid Economy.’ Strong performance in the agriculture sector, with increased exports, is one example of a sector showing resilience and even some growth during this challenging time.
Commenting on the latest job figures for the Saskatoon CMA, SREDA President and CEO Alex Fallon said: “The local economy continues to adjust, sometimes taking one step forward and two back. As vaccine distribution increases in the province, a stronger rebound should follow – although this will be slow and steady. There is no magic economic pill, and recovery will be a marathon – not a sprint – but it will come.”