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By trusting in its scientists, Australia is down to zero new COVID-19 cases – National Post

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In private, Hunt swapped practical stories with his wife, Paula Hunt, a former infectious- diseases nurse who had kept a copy of a 1995 bestseller by U.S. science journalist Laurie Garrett, “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance,” on her bedside table, he said.

“It’s valuable to have a very strong sounding board,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison takes a tour of the Scientia Clinical Research Ltd lab in Randwick on November 05, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. PHOTO BY POOL/GETTY IMAGES.

The coordination was not always smooth, and lapses did occur. Federal officials were uncomfortable with Melbourne’s extreme lockdown and felt the state border closures went too far. Hunt, Morrison and federal health advisers tried to criticize the rules without undermining overall confidence in the response.

While polls show strong support for the tough measures, many people have been badly affected. Australia entered its first recession in 29 years, small businesses have closed and reports of depression are up. On Tuesday, an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne turned violent. Police arrested 404 people.

And for a time, it appeared Australia’s early success was imperilled, after lax security at hotels in Melbourne housing returned travellers led to a second outbreak in July. By August, more than 700 cases a day were diagnosed. It looked like Australia could lose control of the virus.

Almost all public life in Melbourne ended. After 111 days locked down, the number of average daily cases fell below five. On Oct. 28, state officials allowed residents to leave their homes for any reason.

Australia currently bans its citizens and residents from overseas travel, a decision that has been particularly tough on its 7.5 million immigrants.

On Oct. 16 Australia opened its border to New Zealand, which, despite limited outbreaks, never experienced a full second wave. The government is awaiting results of four vaccine trials in which it has invested.

Most Australians will have access to a vaccine by the middle of next year, Hunt said, a major step toward allowing them to travel.

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Canada added 62,000 jobs in November, slowest month of recovery since COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Canada’s economy added 62,000 jobs last month, which is better than economists had been expecting, but it’s also the lowest total since the labour market recovery from COVID-19 began in May.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the jobless rate ticked down four basis points to 8.5 per cent. That’s down from a peak of 13.7 per cent in May, but still well above the 5.6 per cent rate seen in February, before the pandemic.

Canada lost more than a million jobs in March and another two million in April, before the job market started to recover in May. According to Statscan, more than 19.1 million Canadians aged 15 or over had some sort of job in February. Last month, that figure stood at just over 18.6 million.

There are currently 1.7 million people in Canada officially categorized as unemployed, which means they would like to work but can’t find any. Roughly one quarter of them — 443,000 people — have been out of work for more than half a year.

Manitoba lost 18,000 jobs last month, while Ontario added 36,000 and Quebec 15,000. British Columbia added 23,000 and the Atlantic provinces added a total of 17,000.

Mostly full time

While the overall rate of job gains is undeniably slowing, economist Royce Mendes with CIBC did see some reason for optimism in the numbers, specifically the fact that most of the new jobs were full time, which boosted the total number of hours worked by 1.2 per cent — faster than the increase seen a month earlier.

But with cases spiking across Canada and more regions locking down more parts of the economy, he thinks the streak of job gains will come to an end this month. 

“It’s likely that COVID will catch up with the Canadian economy in the December data, with a decline expected in both employment and overall economic activity,” Mendes said.

Leah Nord with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the job slowdown shows that the government needs to do a better jobs of testing for COVID-19 and tracing contacts, and making much broader use of rapid testing to ensure businesses stay open for the long Canadian winter ahead.

“The short-lived partial rebound in jobs is turning an unfortunate corner heading into a potentially protracted second wave,” she said. “As we look forward, we believe there is increasing risk for a steady decline in employment over the coming months as governments and health authorities grapple with transmission mitigation.”

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Canadian economy added 62,000 jobs in November, unemployment rate fell to 8.5% – CityNews Toronto

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The rate of job growth continued to slow in November with the economy adding 62,000 jobs, down from 84,000 in October.

The gains were mostly focused in full-time work with a gain of 99,000 jobs, offset somewhat by a decline in part-time work of 37,000 positions, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The average economist estimate had been for a gain of 20,000 jobs and an unchanged unemployment rate, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

The gains in November left the country 574,000 jobs short of recouping the approximately three million jobs lost from lockdowns in March and April that sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 13.7 per cent in May.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.5 per cent compared with 8.9 per cent in October.

The unemployment rate would have been 10.9 per cent in November, StatCan said, had it included in calculations Canadians who wanted to work last month but didn’t search for a job.

The agency said 1.5 million people searched for jobs in November, a small drop of 39,000 from October, but still more than 448,000 or so who were looking for work in February, pre-pandemic.

The report noted that job searchers made up an increasing share of the total number of unemployed.

The youth unemployment rate fell 1.4 per cent to 17.4 per cent with a gain of about 20,000 jobs for the age group, mostly concentrated among young men with little change to the employment situation for women age 15 to 24.

Similarly, employment among women 25 to 54 years old didn’t change much in November after six straight months of seeing their numbers rise.

Positions in the hard-hit accommodation and food services sector declined for the second consecutive month, shedding 24,000 jobs in November.

That figure doesn’t take into account renewed restrictions in areas like Toronto that kicked in later in the month.

“As a result, it’s likely that COVID will catch up with the Canadian economy in the December data, with a decline expected in both employment and overall economic activity,” notes CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes.

Overall, the pace of job gains has slowed, with employment rising by 0.3 per cent in November compared to an average of 2.7 per cent per month between May and September.

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Canadian banks face revenue growth challenges as focus shifts from managing loan losses – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Commodities Giant Glencore Names Nagle to Succeed Glasenberg

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc named Gary Nagle to take over as chief executive officer, when billionaire Ivan Glasenberg steps down after almost 20 years at the top of the world’s biggest commodity trader.“It’s time to hand over to a new generation and a new leader,” Glasenberg said on an investor call Friday. “We’ve decided that over the next six months I will be working closely with Gary Nagle, who will be taking over from me.”Nagle, like Glasenberg, is South African and similarly has degrees in commerce and accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand. Also like Glasenberg, he built his career by rising through the ranks of Glencore’s coal department. Now head of that business, Nagle’s appointment comes as Glencore committed to keeping its coal assets, despite speculation it could follow rivals in spinning them off.Glasenberg announced at the end of 2018 his plan to retire in the next few years, firing the starting gun on a closely watched race in which Nagle held off challenges from rivals including Kenny Ives and Nico Paraskevas. The transition comes as Glencore navigates through corruption probes, scrutiny of its environmental bona fides and a share price that’s lost half its value during the past decade.Known by some as a “mini-Ivan,” Nagle joined Glencore in 2000 as an asset manager in the coal department, going on to become chief executive of its Colombian coal operation, Prodeco, in December 2007. Following the acquisition of Xstrata, the 45-year-old was moved to run the company’s South Africa-focused alloy assets, and was later named head of coal assets.Maintaining Culture“He will maintain the culture and the style this company has,” Glasenberg said. “I’m happy to have him as the custodian of my shareholding in the company which I will maintain going forward.”Though Glasenberg is relinquishing the top job, he holds a 9.1% stake in Glencore, making him the second-biggest shareholder.Glencore’s shares rose as much as 4% in London, following the announcement.Glasenberg, who has long defended coal’s role in Glencore’s portfolio, said he would support Nagle if he decided to exit the business. Although he still believes Glencore is a better steward of its coal mines, Glasenberg said that if shareholders decided the coal unit should be sold or spun off, then Nagle would have to do it.“I’ll support him in anything that creates value for shareholders,” he said.Glasenberg’s impending departure follows that of his chief lieutenants, who themselves became billionaires when the company listed, have been leaving the past two years. The exodus included former head of copper trading Telis Mistakidis, head of oil Alex Beard and Daniel Mate, who headed up its zinc business.(Updates with comment from Glasenberg in sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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