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31.4 per cent spring slide for a U.S. economy likely to shrink in 2020 – CTV News

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WASHINGTON —
The U.S. economy plunged at an unprecedented rate this spring and even with a record rebound expected in the just-ended third quarter, the U.S. economy will likely shrink this year, the first time that has happened since the Great Recession.

The gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4% in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7% drop estimated one month ago, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The government’s last look at the second quarter showed a decline that was more than three times larger than the fall of 10% in the first quarter of 1958 when Dwight Eisenhower was president, which had been the largest decline in U.S. history.

Economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30% in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase, a 16.7% surge in the first quarter of 1950 when Harry Truman was president.

The government will not release its July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election.

While President Donald Trump is counting on an economic rebound to convince voters to give him a second term, economists said any such bounce back this year is a longshot.

Economists are forecasting that growth will slow significantly in the final three months of this year to a rate of around 4% and the U.S. could actually topple back into a recession if Congress fails to pass another stimulus measure or if there is a resurgence of COVID-19. There are upticks in infections occurring right now in some regions of the country, including New York.

“There are a lot of potential pitfalls out there,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. “We are still dealing with a number of significant reductions because of the pandemic.”

In 2020, economists expect GDP to fall by around 4% , which would mark the first annual decline in GDP since a drop of 2.5% in 2009 during the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

“With economic momentum cooling, fiscal stimulus expiring, flu season approaching and election uncertainty rising, the main question is how strong the labour market will be going into the fourth quarter,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

“With the prospect of additinal fiscal aid dwindling, consumers, businesses and local governments will have to fend for themselves in the coming months,” Daco said.

The Trump administration is forecasting solid growth in coming quarters that will restore all of the output lost to the pandemic. Yet most economists believe it could take some time for all the lost output to be restored and they don’t rule out a return to shrinking GDP if no further government support is forthcoming.

So far this year, the economy fell at a 5% rate in the first quarter, signalling an end to a nearly 11-year-long economic expansion, the longest in U.S. history. That drop was followed by the second quarter decline of 31.4%, which was initially estimated two months ago as a drop of 32.9%, and then revised to a decline of 31.7% last month.

The slight upward revision in this report reflected less of a plunge in consumer spending than had been estimated. It was still a record fall at a rate of 33.2%, but last month projections were for a decline of 34.1%. This improvement was offset somewhat by downward revisions to exports and to business investment.

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Economy

Free webinars will focus on AI, circular economy and Bullfrog Power – OrilliaMatters

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It Sustainable Orillia Month in Orillia. With that in mind Sustainable Orillia has been offering free webinars throughout October. The final three webinars are planned for this week. Here’s a rundown of topics and what to expect.

The first webinar will focus on how using artificial intelligence (AI) can help commercial building owners reduce their heating, venting and air-conditioning costs.

This webinar will be of special interest to building operators who have buildings larger than 75 sq. ft., and where a significant portion of the energy used in these buildings is used for HVAC systems. AI can help you manage and reduce these costs.

During this presentation, you will meet Bryce Conacher, Sales Director, National Accounts BrainBox AI. 

Conacher has worked for the Canadian Standards Association and has been a GHG Instructor at the School of Environment at the University of Toronto. Prior to this he was with Brookfield Renewables, one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy. He has been with BrainBox for about nine months. 

You can expect to learn how BrainBox AI’s technology converts existing HVAC equipment into autonomous HVAC systems using artificial intelligence and cloud computing. In addition, this system can also be used to improve air quality in hotels and/or other buildings being considered for temporary hospitals during these COVID times. 

Plan to attend How Using Artificial Intelligence Can Help Commercial Building Owners Reduce Their HVAC Energy Costs on Tuesday, Oct. 27 2020 at 2 p.m. Please go to  https://sustainableorillia.ca/so-month/ for registration details.

BULLFROG POWER
The second webinar will focus on how you can Bullfrog Power your home and your business 

This webinar will be of special interest to people with homes and businesses who want to help reduce their GHG emissions and promote renewable energy in Canada. 

It will appeal to the growing segment of eco-conscious consumers, as well as companies which want to engage their employees in a sustainability-minded culture. The webinar will address both electricity and natural gas.

During this presentation, you will meet Dave Borins, working for Community Renewable Projects at Bullfrog Power. Borins has been with Bullfrog for seven years. He provides critical financial support to communities bringing new renewable energy projects online across Canada. Bullfrog Power has supported 140 projects to date.

During this webinar, you can expect to learn:

  • How Bullfrog Power works for both homes and businesses (Why go green?)
  • How it can help reduce your environmental impact
  • How it can increase businesses’ employee engagement and differentiate your brand
  • How your business can better engage with the community

Plan to tune in to How you can Bullfrog Power your home and your business on Thursday, Oct. 29 2020 at 11 a.m. Please go to https://sustainableorillia.ca/events for registration details.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Do you understand the circular economy? That’s the topic of the third webinar, which will be of special interest to people who would like to explore how countries around the world are accelerating progress toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through the lens of the “Circular Economy (CE).”

During this presentation, you will meet Audrey Bayens, a long-time volunteer for community sustainability projects. As an emerging leader in the Circular Economy movement, her focus is on increasing adoption so Canada can take its proper place in this movement as it hosts the World Circular Economy Forum in Toronto in September, 2021. 

In this webinar, you will learn how this new reality presents opportunities to achieve sustainability in ways that help us thrive. The Circular Economy is a “toolbox” of ways to achieve many SDG targets. 

At the core of CE practices is the aim to restore natural capital through a broad range of models such as reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, recycling, industrial symbiosis, biomimicry, product-sharing and supporting better design practices.

Plan to tune in for Understanding the Circular Economy on Thursday. Oct. 29 at either 3 p.m. or 6 p.m. Please go to https://sustainableorillia.ca/so-month/ for registration details.

There is no charge to participate in any of these webinars. If you can’t catch it the first time, the recording will be available for future viewing via Sustainable Orillia’s website www.sustainableorillia.ca.

Join other local people who care about the future of our community for a valuable hour of new and useful information, followed by questions and answers.

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Economy

Atlantic Canada’s economy bounces back faster after region closes its doors: official – Global News

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Chef Emily Wells was unsure what to expect as she opened the doors of her seasonal restaurant in rural Prince Edward Island the same day Canada’s four Atlantic provinces bubbled together, allowing travel between them while keeping their borders restricted to everyone else.

The result was far better than she could have imagined.

“It was a remarkable summer, I was floored by it,” Wells said. “The bubble made all the difference. It certainly worked for us.”

Read more:
Nova Scotia reports no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The border restrictions along with tough public health measures helped the east coast provinces, which have a combined population of 2.4 million, tamp down COVID-19 early on and largely keep the virus at bay even as the rest of the country entered a second wave of infections.

Story continues below advertisement

That success came at a cost. More than 171,000 jobs were lost, exports plunged and the region’s $5 billion  tourism sector was crippled, with all four provinces swinging from economic growth to sudden contraction.

While the initial impact was similar to what happened in the rest of Canada, data shows the rebound in jobs and economic activity that followed was quicker, bolstered by the ability to reopen the economy faster than the rest of the country.

“We knew (the Atlantic bubble) was going to help, we just didn’t know what it would look like,” said PEI Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay. His tiny province of 160,000 people ended up getting about a third of the record 1.6 million visitors it saw in 2019.


Click to play video 'New PC Health App Launches in Atlantic Canada'



5:27
New PC Health App Launches in Atlantic Canada


New PC Health App Launches in Atlantic Canada

Without the bubble, it would have been far more painful, he said.

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Between local support and bubble travellers, business at Mike Fritz’s coffee shop along a popular PEI trail was surprisingly strong. But he is eager to welcome a wider range of visitors next summer.

“We are hoping that at least the tourists from Ontario and Quebec can come back next season, because that’s almost 60 per cent of our business,” said Fritz. But both of Canada’s major airlines have slashed service to Atlantic Canada, which experts say will slow the broader tourism recovery and could discourage outside investment.

By the numbers

Read more:
Prince Edward Island reports one new case of COVID-19, has three active cases

After months of strict restrictions and mandatory quarantines, the four Atlantic provinces began to allow travel between themselves in early July amid concerns the sudden freedom would lead to a rash of outbreaks. That did not happen.

There have been 73 COVID-19 deaths in the region, the bulk occurring before the bubble opened. There are now fewer than 15 active cases in PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia combined. In New Brunswick, which borders with Quebec where case counts are high, there are two outbreaks with 75 active cases.

By comparison, Canada as a whole has had 9,862 deaths and currently has 23,481 active cases, with an average of 2,425 new infections each day. The second wave has already led to targeted shutdowns in a number of non-Atlantic provinces.

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Click to play video 'WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic'



2:14
WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic


WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic

That resurgence has hurt Canada’s recovery, with the economy forecast to shrink 5.9 per cent this year, according to a Reuters poll.

Three of the four Atlantic provinces are set to fare better than that, according to analyst estimates, shrinking between 4.3 per cent and 5.4 per cent.

The surge in cases has also made it less clear when Atlantic Canada might reopen to other provinces, with public opinion firmly against expanding the bubble.

Read more:
WestJet cutting over 100 flights in Atlantic Canada as pandemic makes service ‘unviable’

In Newfoundland and Labrador, tour boat operator Joseph O’Brien took the unusual step of teaming up with his main competitor so the two could split costs and guests, rather than jousting for the limited number of visitors.

Story continues below advertisement

He estimates he averaged only 8 per cent of his regular capacity over the prime summer months, mostly due to not having visitors from Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Still, O’Brien supported the strict restrictions to keep people safe.

“I’m not a scientist, but I know that drastic times call for drastic measures,” he said. “What don’t break us usually makes us stronger.”

© 2020 Reuters

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Economy

Canada's Atlantic region closed out world to beat COVID-19, and the economy has done OK – Reuters Canada

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Chef Emily Wells was unsure what to expect as she opened the doors of her seasonal restaurant in rural Prince Edward Island the same day Canada’s four Atlantic provinces bubbled together, allowing travel between them while keeping their borders restricted to everyone else.

A resident views the first iceberg of the season as it passes the South Shore, also known as “Iceberg Alley”, near Ferryland Newfoundland, Canada April 16, 2017. Picture taken April 16, 2017. REUTERS/Greg Locke

The result was far better than she could have imagined.

“It was a remarkable summer, I was floored by it,” Wells said. “The bubble made all the difference. It certainly worked for us.”

The border restrictions along with tough public health measures helped the east coast provinces, which have a combined population of 2.4 million, tamp down COVID-19 early on and largely keep the virus at bay even as the rest of the country entered a second wave of infections.

That success came at a cost. More than 171,000 jobs were lost, exports plunged and the region’s C$5 billion ($3.8 billion) tourism sector was crippled, with all four provinces swinging from economic growth to sudden contraction.

While the initial impact was similar to what happened in the rest of Canada, data shows the rebound in jobs and economic activity that followed was quicker, bolstered by the ability to reopen the economy faster than the rest of the country. tmsnrt.rs/2FRnExA

“We knew (the Atlantic bubble) was going to help, we just didn’t know what it would look like,” said PEI Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay. His tiny province of 160,000 people ended up getting about a third of the record 1.6 million visitors it saw in 2019.

Without the bubble, it would have been far more painful, he said.

Between local support and bubble travelers, business at Mike Fritz’s coffee shop along a popular PEI trail was surprisingly strong. But he is eager to welcome a wider range of visitors next summer.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

“We are hoping that at least the tourists from Ontario and Quebec can come back next season, because that’s almost 60% of our business,” said Fritz.

But both of Canada’s major airlines have slashed service to Atlantic Canada, which experts say will slow the broader tourism recovery and could discourage outside investment.

BY THE NUMBERS

After months of strict restrictions and mandatory quarantines, the four Atlantic provinces began to allow travel between themselves in early July amid concerns the sudden freedom would lead to a rash of outbreaks. That did not happen.

There have been 73 COVID-19 deaths in the region, the bulk occurring before the bubble opened. There are now fewer than 15 active cases in PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia combined. In New Brunswick, which borders with Quebec where case counts are high, there are two outbreaks with 75 active cases.

By comparison, Canada as a whole has had 9,862 deaths and currently has 23,481 active cases, with an average of 2,425 new infections each day. The second wave has already led to targeted shutdowns in a number of non-Atlantic provinces.

That resurgence has hurt Canada’s recovery, with the economy forecast to shrink 5.9% this year, according to a Reuters poll.

Three of the four Atlantic provinces are set to fare better than that, according to analyst estimates, shrinking between 4.3% and 5.4%. tmsnrt.rs/31BgNjG

The surge in cases has also made it less clear when Atlantic Canada might reopen to other provinces, with public opinion firmly against expanding the bubble.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, tour boat operator Joseph O’Brien took the unusual step of teaming up with his main competitor so the two could split costs and guests, rather than jousting for the limited number of visitors.

He estimates he averaged only 8% of his regular capacity over the prime summer months, mostly due to not having visitors from Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Still, O’Brien supported the strict restrictions to keep people safe.

“I’m not a scientist, but I know that drastic times call for drastic measures,” he said. “What don’t break us usually makes us stronger.”

Graphic: Jobs shed and regained by Atlantic province – here

Graphic: Select Canada real GDP forecasts – here

Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Alistair Bell

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