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Canada unexpectedly adds 289600 jobs on gradual reopening – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Canada’s labour market unexpectedly strengthened after two-straight months of record losses as the country gradually reopens from COVID-19 related restrictions.

Employment rose by 289,600 in May, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, surprising economists who had been anticipating more losses last month. The gains were across most industries and provinces, though largely driven by higher employment in Quebec, the province hardest hit by the pandemic.

The numbers echo recent high-frequency data, which had signaled a recovery is underway, with job postings increasing and more Canadians reporting an increase in work at the end of May. They will be a relief to policy makers who had been scrambling to inject hundreds of billions in cash into the economy to keep it afloat. Still, just under 5 million remain without work or substantially reduced hours with the jobless rate at postwar records.

“The surprisingly positive readings on employment paint a more optimistic picture of the early part of the recovery, but there’s still a long road back,” Royce Mendes, an economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said in a research report. “The increase in May only represents 10 per cent of the COVID-19-related job losses and absences that occurred over the prior two months.”

Unprecedented Losses

The pick up in May follows an unprecedented loss of about 3 million jobs in March and April. More than 2 million employed Canadians continue to experience much lower hours worked than pre-crsisis.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 13.7% in May, from 13 per cent in April, as people returned to the labor force. Economists in a Bloomberg survey expected a loss of 500,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate rising to 15 per cent.

Canada’s currency extended gains on the result, appreciating 0.7 per cent to $1.3406 against its U.S. counterpart at 9:46 a.m. Toronto time. Yields on two-year government bonds rose 2 basis points to 0.35 per cent.

The better-than-expected report suggests the governments programs to cushion the blow to the labor market are working. By mid-May, 179,000 businesses had applied for the government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy program. The pace of applications to Canada’s emergency income benefit program has also decelerated in recent weeks, suggesting the worst of the layoffs and job losses is over.

In addition to the employment pick up, Statistics Canada said the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours dropped by 292,000. That means the number of Canadians who have either lost their job or worked substantially fewer hours has fallen to just under 5 million, from about 5.5 million in April. Hours worked rose 6.3 per cent in May from the prior month but were still 23 per cent below February’s levels .

Cautious Reopening

The surprise jump reflects the cautious reopening of the economy across provinces. By the time the employment survey was taken from May 10 to May 16, some provinces including B.C., Saskatchewan and Quebec allowed some non-essential businesses to reopen.

Quebec accounted for nearly 80% of May’s gains, the statistics agency said. In contrast, Ontario -– where the economy remained largely shut until May 19 –- saw more losses.

In the early days of the reopening, employment rebounded more strongly among goods producers, the data show. The goods-producing sector added 165,000 jobs versus 125,000 in services. Lower-wage jobs also rebounded more, particularly in retail trade, accommodation and food services.

Women Lagging

Demographically, male employment increased more than twice as fast as that for women, consistent with the more rapid increase in the goods-producing industry. Women were among the earliest victims of the Covid-19 related job losses in March and the latest data suggest they are slower to recover as well.

“The kinds of jobs that reopened earlier tend to be more male dominated in employment and also that more women don’t know how to get back to work because they don’t know what to do with their kids because schools aren’t open,” said Armine Yalnizyan, a research fellow at the Atkinson Foundation.

Women with at least one child under age 6 showed a slower return to work than women with older children. Statistics Canada said it will continue to monitor labor market outcomes for men and women with children in the months to come.

Youth are still suffering heavily from the Covid-19 economic shutdown. While employment recovered by 30,000 for those aged 15-24, the cumulative job losses for this age cohort are still a whopping 843,000 from February to May.

–With assistance from Erik Hertzberg.

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Uber launches on-demand grocery delivery in Latin America and Canada – The Verge

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Uber is launching an on-demand grocery delivery service in Latin America and Canada, the company announced on Tuesday. It’s Uber’s first major move into the competitive world of online grocery shopping since acquiring Cornershop, a leading online grocery provider in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Brazil, and Colombia.

Grocery delivery will be available through both Uber’s main app and its Uber Eats app. Customers will see food delivery available from local grocery stores and will be able to receive their orders “in as little as one to two hours,” according to Uber Eats head of product Daniel Danker.

The service is available starting today in 19 cities across Latin America and Canada. Later this month, it will be available in the US, Danker said. And when it launches, it will be included in Uber’s subscription services, Rider Pass and Eats Pass, in which customers can get free delivery on orders over $30.

The announcement also comes on the heels of Uber’s $2.65 billion acquisition of Postmates. Uber is scrambling to expand its food delivery options as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel its core ride-hailing business. At the height of the pandemic in April, Uber said its ride-hailing division was down about 80 percent. And now, with the number of cases spiking in many parts of the US, the company’s losses could continue to mount.

“I think this would make a lot of sense in a pre-COVID world,” Danker said in a call with reporters. “But our world has just fundamentally changed. And so this represents even more of a huge responsibility for us.”

It’s not hard to see why Uber is banking so much on food delivery. Bookings in the company’s Uber Eats division were up more than 54 percent year over year, thanks to increased demand for food deliveries, the company reported in May. Meal delivery has seen an acceleration in demand since mid-March, with 89 percent year-over-year gross bookings growth in April excluding India. But the company has also moved fast to abandon its unprofitable markets, recently shuttering its Eats business in eight countries.

Uber is entering a crowded field, with huge companies like Amazon and Instacart jockeying for market share with major grocers like Kroger and Walmart. And it’s not an obvious moneymaker either. Last year, only 3 percent of grocery sales in the US take place online. Sales are certainly increasing during the pandemic — US online grocery revenue hit a record $7.2 billion in June — but customers say they feel hesitant to shop for groceries online for fear of being overcharged or experiencing late deliveries, according to a recent survey.

Cornershop was founded in 2015 in Santiago, Chile. The company was almost acquired by Walmart for $225 million in 2018, but Mexican antitrust regulators ultimately blocked the deal, arguing Walmart could not guarantee a level playing field for its rivals.

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Uber launches new grocery delivery service in Montreal and Toronto – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Uber Technologies Inc. is getting into the grocery delivery business and is using some Canadian cities to help it launch the venture.

The San Francisco-based tech giant said Tuesday that users in Montreal and Toronto can now order groceries through its Uber and Uber Eats apps.

“They’ll be able to place orders from local merchants and receive them in as little as one to two hours,” Daniel Danker, who runs Uber’s product team, told reporters.

A demonstration of the new service showed thousands of items available from retailers including Walmart, Metro, Rexall, Costco, Longos, Pet Valu and Well.ca.

The company’s foray into the grocery sector comes after Uber advertised in November 2018 that it was hiring a head of grocery product in Toronto.

The company remained secretive about the role, but a year later, Uber’s potential interest in a grocery service was a hot topic again when it announced it was acquiring a majority stake in Chilean grocery delivery start-up Cornershop.

The deal was held up by a Mexican Competition Authority investigation, but is supposed to close in the coming days.

Cornershop will serve as Uber’s partner in the grocery delivery venture, which will launch in more than a dozen Latin American cities alongside the Canadian markets.

Uber faces stiff competition with its new service. Amazon.com Inc. and Instacart are already going head-to-head with supermarket brands like Walmart and Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Uber believes it can edge out some of the competition because it sees groceries as a natural extension of its booming food delivery service and a way for the company to become a one-stop shop for every meal.

Grocery delivery has only become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic because more Canadians have transitioned to work from home and Uber’s ride-hailing business is still in “recovery mode,” according to Danker.

“I think this would have made a lot sense in a pre-COVID world, but our world has just fundamentally changed and so this represents even more of a huge responsibility for us,” Danker said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.

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Canada’s LNG industry on shaky ground as high-profile investors back off: report – Globalnews.ca

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Legendary investor Warren Buffett’s decision to walk away from a proposed export terminal for liquefied natural gas in Quebec is being held up in a new report as a sign that the LNG sector in Canada and elsewhere is on shaky ground.

The Global Energy Monitor report released Monday says Buffett’s move in March underscores the growing political and economic uncertainty that LNG projects are facing even as governments around the world tout liquefied natural gas as a clean alternative to coal power.

Read more:
Trans Mountain, LNG Canada say project progressing despite coronavirus pandemic

Canada has emerged as a major proponent of expanding liquefied natural gas as a way to fight climate change abroad and create jobs and revenue at home, with numerous multibillion-dollar projects to facilitate LNG exports to Asia and elsewhere in the works.

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Yet Global Energy Monitor suggested Buffett’s decision to withdraw investment firm Berkshire Hathaway’s planned $4-billion investment in an LNG export terminal in Saguenay, Que., is a sign of things to come.

Neither Buffett nor Berkshire Hathaway explained their reasons for the move, but the company behind the terminal project blamed “the current Canadian context” — an apparent reference to nationwide rail blockades and protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. at the time.






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New report casts doubt on LNG ‘clean claims’


New report casts doubt on LNG ‘clean claims’

“While many projects face opposition from local communities, the case of the Energie Saguenay LNG Terminal in Quebec shows the potential for a local protest to galvanize a national movement,” said the Global Energy Monitor report.

Global Energy Monitor is an international non-governmental organization that catalogues fossil-fuel infrastructure around the world and advocates for more investments in renewable energy.

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Monday’s report goes on to suggest that political opposition is only one of many new challenges to the LNG sector, with another being a dramatic drop in the price of gas due to an oversupply at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has sent demand plummeting.

Read more:
LNG Canada says it’s hitting ‘critical construction milestones’ amid blockades

The result: plans to build pipelines, terminals and other infrastructure in Canada and around the world have been put on hold _ or dropped entirely.

The report lists 13 LNG projects in Canada alone that have been cancelled or suspended in recent years. That includes a $10-billion LNG export facility in Nova Scotia, which is now in limbo as the company behind the project tries to decide whether to move ahead or not.

One of those apparently not affected is LNG Canada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, which was the target of this year’s protests and blockades over a route that crosses traditional Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. The company said last month that it plans to have 2,500 people working on the 670-kilometre pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat by September.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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