Weekly Market Summary
The week ended: Friday 4th September 2020
Job Market in Canada Extends Recovery with Strong Full-Time Gain
Canada’s economy added 245,800 jobs in August, a fourth-straight month of gains that have recouped almost two-thirds of employment losses from the pandemic. The gain in jobs has seen a total number of 1.9 million jobs recovered from the 3 million lost due to the pandemic, lowering the unemployment rate to 10.2% from 10.9% in July. Of the August gains, 205,800 were in full-time and 40,000 in part-time jobs. Economists had forecast a 250,000 increase and a 10.2% unemployment rate in August.
While the initial quick recovery in Canada’s labor market is welcome, economists predict it will fade, with many of those initially displaced by the pandemic already back at work and the economy as open as it can be for now. The latest numbers capture the reopening of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city and one of the last to ease restrictions due to high COVID-19 cases. Ontario posted 142,000 new jobs last month. However, without any further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, future job reports will be representative of the level of scarring that there’s been from the pandemic according to some analysts.
Summary effect on SMEs: The strong gain in employment provides consumers with more income to patronize SMEs and also reflects improvement in the economy. However, there might be a slowdown in this rate of recovery in the coming months if restrictions are not lifted.
Canada Secures Up to 190M Doses of Prospective COVID Vaccines
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced deals on Monday to secure up to 190 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines from a quartet of pharmaceutical companies. Trudeau said the federal government has signed agreements with Johnson & Johnson for up to 38 million doses, Novavax Inc. for up to 76 million doses, Pfizer Inc. for a minimum of 20 million doses, and Moderna Inc. for up to 56 million doses of their respective vaccine candidates. Novavax, which currently has its treatment in phase two of clinical trials in order to determine efficacy and safety, announced the arrangement with Canada earlier Monday morning. The company reported its phase-one trials were “well-tolerated” and elicited a strong antibody response.
The government is also investing $126 million over the next two years to build a facility that could produce up to two million doses of any potential vaccine per month, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. The federal government will then pay $20 million per year to cover operating costs. The moves by the government to secure a vaccine are significant as stemming the pandemic is the most straightforward path to economic normalcy. Although a vaccine has not yet been released (apart from in Russia), the Canadian government has taken steps to ensure that it is one of the first in line upon the release of a viable vaccine.
Summary effect on SMEs: There are reasons to be optimistic about a positive turn of events in the coming months and years as active steps are being taken to secure a vaccine for Canadians.