Statistics Canada says the economy lost almost 213,000 jobs in January as employment fell to the lowest level since August last year, wiping out the gains made in the fall.
The unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 9.4 per cent, the highest rate since August.
Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate was for a loss of 47,500 jobs in January and an unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent.
The losses were almost entirely concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, and mostly in the retail sector as lockdowns and restrictions closed many businesses.
Employment declines were heavy in the services sector and part-time work fuelling the largest monthly decline since April when some two million jobs were lost.
Statistics Canada says the losses in January now put the country 858,300 jobs, or 4.5 per cent, short of employment levels from last February just before the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unemployment rate would have been 12 per cent in January had Statistics Canada included in its calculations Canadians who wanted to work but didn’t search for a job.
Losses in January marked a second straight month that the labour market contracted after 63,000 positions disappeared in December to break a streak of monthly gains that began in May 2020.
January’s employment figures show the “continuing challenge of balancing economic activity with the need to protect public health,” Statistics Canada notes in the report, and how restrictions hit specific sectors and groups of workers harder than others.
Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says today’s “unfortunately bleak” jobs report points to a need to find a new way to manage the pandemic.
“We simply cannot afford to be in a holding pattern until vaccines arrive,” she says.
“We need new strategies to manage the pandemic. The economic costs may very well damage Canada’s economy and structurally alter our labour market in ways that may not easily be repaired.”
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Exclusive: El Salvador seeks IMF funding, sees 'golden opportunity' for economy, says finance minister – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Anthony Esposito and Nelson Renteria
(Reuters) – El Salvador is talking to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about securing some $1.3 billion in financing and sees a “golden opportunity” to revitalize its economy after the ruling party’s big win in legislative elections, a top government official said.
Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya told Reuters in an interview that El Salvador wants to get a 36-month extended fund facility approved by the IMF, similar to the program announced this week for fellow Central American country Costa Rica.
“It will help us leverage the budgetary gaps for 2021, 2022 and 2023” and help lower the highs costs associated with El Salvador’s debt, Zelaya said.
El Salvador sovereign dollar bonds jumped on Tuesday after President Nayib Bukele, declared a landslide win in Sunday’s voting, saying his party and its allies had secured the biggest majority in the country’s history.
“What (the ruling) New Ideas party and President Bukele achieved on Sunday is truly a golden opportunity for El Salvador’s economy to take off,” said Zelaya.
Fitch Ratings said the legislative election result ends political gridlock that had hindered policy implementation and dented El Salvador’s ability to tap external funding.
That gridlock led to an over-reliance on domestic market borrowing to meet high government funding needs, pushing borrowing costs higher, the ratings agency said.
Zelaya said financing from international multilateral lenders should make El Salvador’s debt and public spending sustainable. For 2021 “we need financing of around $2 billion, including the short-term debt management plan,” he added.
Integral reform of El Salvador’s pension system was needed so pensions do not put pressure on government finances, Zelaya said.
While no deal has been struck, the IMF could potentially disburse up to $450 million this year, on top of prior commitments of $250 million from the Inter-American Development Bank, $200 million from the World Bank and $600 million from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, he said.
Asked when the deal with the IMF might be finalized, Zelaya said it was still too early to say.
“We’re working to reach an agreement. It takes two.”
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito in Mexico City and Nelson Renteria in San Salvador; editing by Grant McCool)
Pandemic Toll on Toronto's Visitor Economy Surpasses $8 Billion – Canada NewsWire
Analysis by Destination Toronto marks one full year of the pandemic’s impact
TORONTO, March 4, 2021 /CNW/ – The global pandemic, including the associated travel restrictions and lockdowns over the past 12 months, have resulted in $8.35 billion in lost economic activity from visitor spending in Toronto. When the Greater Toronto region is included, the economic losses grow to more than $14 billion. The new analysis by Destination Toronto demonstrates the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the city’s tourism and hospitality sector and the broader economy that benefits from visitor spending.
The analysis stems from Destination Toronto’s Visitor Economy Study released in late 2019. Produced by Tourism Economics and done in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the study found that Toronto’s 27.5 million visitors generate an economic impact of $10.3 billion and support 70,000 jobs (based on 2018 data) in the community.
“When we released the Visitor Economy Study in late 2019, it showed the enormous impact of visitor spending on our local economy, and how that economic activity supports businesses and benefits all of us in city, the province and the country,” said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Destination Toronto. “Little did we know that the same study would soon be used to show the enormity of the impact of the pandemic on the people and businesses that make up the visitor economy.”
The new analysis highlights the hardest hit sectors in the industry impacted by reduced visitor spending including: retail ($1.67 billion in lost economic activity), food and beverage ($1.3 billion), accommodations ($1.2 billion) and attractions and entertainment ($707 million). In addition, reduced visitor spending resulted in $1.44 billion in unrealized tax revenue for all three levels of government ($711 million, provincial; $528 million, federal; and $205 million, municipal).
“We are working non-stop to get through this pandemic so that we can safely restart and reopen our city. Prior to the pandemic, Toronto was welcoming millions of people from the around the world who were eager to see and experience our city. One of the hardest hit areas during the pandemic has been the hospitality and tourism sector but I am absolutely confident that this sector will come back strong with more jobs than ever before,” said Mayor John Tory. “I am determined to work with Destination Toronto and businesses across the city to attract visitors and ensure all the success we had before COVID-19 continues when these tough times are over.”
One of the sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry devastated by the pandemic is the meetings and events industry. Destination Toronto tracked 463 conferences and events that have cancelled or postponed since the start of the pandemic. The resulting cancellations resulted in $833 million in losses in the meetings and events sector, alone.
“Simply stated, 380,000 attendees didn’t come to Toronto over the past year. As a result, they didn’t stay in hotels or visit attractions, didn’t spend money in our retail shops, or eat in our restaurants,” said Beck. “Prior to the pandemic, Toronto had been riding a wave of momentum and experienced annual growth in visitor spending for over a decade. The foundation of our past success, rooted in the quality of our city’s experience, gives us confidence in the inevitable recovery of our industry.”
ABOUT DESTINATION TORONTO
Toronto’s visitor economy is a vital economic engine for the city, generating more than $10 billion in economic activity and supporting 70,000 jobs in 2019. Destination Toronto’s mandate is to reflect the breadth and diversity of Toronto’s people, places and culture to inspire residents and visitors to meet, visit and explore our city. Operating in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Destination Toronto markets and promotes the city to global travellers, attracts and supports major meetings and events, and supports local businesses to maximize the opportunities of visitor spending. For more information please visit DestinationToronto.com.
Destination Toronto on Social
SOURCE Destination Toronto
For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Matt McNama, Corporate Communications Manager, Destination Toronto, 416-994-2258, [email protected]
Canadian dollar forecasts boosted as vaccine rollout accelerates: Reuters poll
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian dollar forecasts for the coming months have been raised by strategists, reflecting recent gains for the currency but also expectations commodity prices will benefit from the reopening of the global economy, a Reuters poll showed.
Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, which has soared about 80% since November, helped by supply cuts from major producers and the prospect of stronger global economic growth this year as COVID-19 vaccines roll out.
The United States expects to have enough vaccine for every American adult by the end of May. Canada‘s vaccination campaign is also ramping up after earlier supply disruptions. Its target for full rollout is September.
“I think the economy is going to open up quickly and oil prices are going to stay firm,” said Ronald Simpson, managing director, global currency analysis at Action Economics. “Rising activity in Canada is going to probably help the Canadian dollar as well.”
Canada‘s economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6% in the fourth quarter. It probably expanded again in January despite lockdowns in some provinces to contain the pandemic.
Evidence of economic resilience has raised speculation the Bank of Canada will reduce its bond purchases as soon as April. The central bank is due to make an interest rate decision on March 10.
The median forecast of nearly 40 analysts in the March 1-3 poll was for the Canadian dollar to edge 0.4% higher to 1.26 per U.S. dollar, or 79.37 U.S. cents, in three months, compared with a 1.27 forecast in February’s poll. It was then expected to advance to 1.25 in one year.
The loonie has rallied about 16% since last March, helped by declines for the safe-haven U.S. dollar. Last Thursday, it touched a three-year high at 1.2464 but has since been buffeted by global market volatility as bond yields surged.
For some analysts, the loonie’s move higher was too far, too fast. That could leave it vulnerable to a pullback in the near term even if the longer-term outlook remains bright.
“While we maintain our cautiously bullish view on the Canadian dollar over the coming twelve months, headwinds to this view over the next quarter are plentiful,” analysts at Monex Europe and Monex Canada, including Simon Harvey, said in a note.
Potential headwinds include an earlier timeline for OPEC to raise output, the analysts said.
(For other stories from the March Reuters foreign exchange poll:)
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; polling by Swathi Nair and Nagamani Lingappa; editing by Larry King)
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