Tide turning as Saskatoon reaches 58.5% economic recovery

Almost a year after COVID-19 reached Saskatoon, the latest update to SREDA’s Saskatoon Economic Recovery Tracker (SERT) shows that Saskatoon’s economy has now recovered to 58.5% of pre-COVID-19 levels. This is an increase from SERT’s December 2020 release, when the economy had recovered by 48.2%.

“Surpassing the halfway point in our economic recovery is a significant milestone,” said SREDA CEO Alex Fallon. “This progress has been driven by our entrepreneurial spirit, diversity and world-class natural resources sector that have helped support Saskatoon’s economy in these unprecedented times. While significant challenges remain, especially in sectors such as tourism, we are optimistic about the road ahead and continue to expect the economy to fully recover at some point in the future”

There are 3 growth drivers for SERT’s 58.5% economic recovery rating and 2 factors dampening that growth:

  1. The pandemic’s first wave had a smaller impact on the economy than initially estimated. The Conference Board of Canada projected that Saskatoon had experienced an economic contraction of 11.4%, but recently revised that number to an estimated contraction of 8.9%.
  2. Post-first wave recovery was stronger than first estimated, with a rebound of 6.9% in Q3 2020 versus the initial forecast of 3.5%, and active businesses continue to rise.
  3. Retail sales, manufacturing shipments and residential investment have all now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Recovery within these sectors, however, has been uneven, with small businesses bearing the brunt of the impact.
  4. Employment progress has dropped compared to earlier months. Unemployment and the labour force participation rate were both negatively affected by the most recent Statistics Canada update. This drop dampens some of the positive changes to SERT’s rating.
  5. The travel and hospitality industry continue to struggle amid pandemic restrictions. Recovery for these sectors has remained more or less the same.

Since SERT’s December release, vaccination against COVID-19 has begun throughout Saskatchewan. Consumer confidence and the outlook for the economy will continue to improve alongside more widespread vaccination.

SERT is an economic tracking tool that monitors ten key indicators for the Saskatoon economy compared to pre-pandemic levels. The tool, which is the first of its kind in Canada, uses data from Statistics Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, the International Monetary Fund and industry associations. Each indicator has a recovery percentage that is weighted to achieve a total recovery rating for the Saskatoon economy. The SERT dashboard is updated on a monthly basis, with analysis updates released each quarter.

To view the full March 2021 SERT update, visit

Tyler Nguyen

Manager, Economic Intelligence
(306) 952-2400