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Job market recovery from COVID-19 slows in October, with only 84,000 new jobs – CBC.ca

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Canada’s job market added 84,000 new jobs in October, a better figure than expected but one that means the economy still has more than 600,000 fewer paid workers today than it did in February, before COVID-19 struck.

That’s the lowest monthly jobs number since the recovery started in May, but slightly better than the 75,000 jobs that economists, on average, were expecting.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that most sectors of the economy added jobs, except the accommodation and food services industry, which shed another 48,000 — mostly in Quebec, because that province was the first to reimpose lockdown measures on the restaurant industry during the month. “Further declines are likely to follow with similar restrictions also imposed elsewhere (including in Toronto and Ottawa) since then,” Royal Bank economist Nathan Janzen noted.

WATCH | COVID-19 surge forces new lockdown in parts of Quebec:

With surging COVID-19 cases, three areas of Quebec, including Montreal and Quebec City, will become “red zones” on Thursday for 28 days, meaning bars and theatres will close and restaurants will revert to take-out only. 2:03

Five provinces posted job gains — Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island — while the job market was unchanged in the rest.

Under normal circumstances, a gain of 84,000 jobs would be a strong showing, but the monthly figure comes as the economy is trying to recover from the three million jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic. Economist Sri Thanabalasingam with TD Bank described the October job numbers as “the first bump on the road to recovery for Canada’s labour market … What was leaps and bounds early on, are now baby steps.”

The data agency said the jobless rate held steady at 8.9 per cent as there are 1.8 million Canadians who are officially classified as unemployed — which means they would like to have a job, but can’t find one, a definition that excludes retired people, many students, and stay-at-home parents. 

The jobless rate, meanwhile, was 5.6 per cent in February.

An additional 540,000 people wanted a job during the month but didn’t look for one, which means they don’t meet the data agency’s requirement to be considered officially unemployed. If those people were included in the numbers, Canada’s jobless rate would leap to 11.3 per cent.

The 1.8 million officially unemployed figure compares with the less than 1.2 million who were jobless in February.

More than one quarter of those deemed to be officially unemployed have been jobless for at least six months. The increase in that group of so-called “long-term unemployed” people is “by far the sharpest recorded” since 1976 when comparable record-keeping began, Statistics Canada said.

The ratio of Canadians who have been jobless for six months or more has spiked at the sharpest pace ever. (Scott Galley/CBC)

On top of the number of people still jobless, Statistics Canada said there are an additional 433,000 people who have a job, but are working less than half the amount they normally do because of the pandemic.

And almost one quarter of part-time workers — 826,000 people — said that they would rather have full-time work, but can’t find it.

“The nicely paved road to recovery is a thing of the past. The path forward is riddled with potholes and speed bumps,” Thanabalasingam said. “Buckle up for a bumpy ride.”

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Moderna chairman says Canada near front of line for 20M vaccine doses – 680 News

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The chairman of American vaccine maker Moderna says Canada is near the front of the line to receive 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it pre-ordered.

Noubar Afeyan offered that assessment today in an interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live.

Afeyan’s remarks come as the Trudeau government has come under fire this past week for its ability to deliver a timely vaccine to Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.

Afeyan was asked whether the fact that Canada committed to pre-purchase its doses before other jurisdictions means it will get its supply first.

Afeyan confirmed that was the case.

“The people who are willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to,” he said.

“In the case of Canada, that number is about 20 million doses. But the Canadian government, like others, have also reserved the ability to increase that amount. And those discussions are ongoing,” he added.

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Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares paused to assess a record-busting month on Monday as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and yet more free money from central banks eclipsed immediate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Helping sentiment was a survey showing factory activity in China handily beat forecasts in November, and the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans. That left blue chips up 1.3% on the day and 7.4% for the month.

The rush to risk has also benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining the safe-haven dollar and gold.

“November looks set to be an awesome month for equity investors with Europe leading the charge at a country/regional level,” said NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Many European bourses are boasting their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up 13% for November so far, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks.

Early Monday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4%, to be up almost 11% for the month in its best performance since late 2011.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.4%, but was still 15.4% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4%, and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.6%.

“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.”

Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.

The surge in stocks has put some competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks.

Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.

DOLLAR IN DECLINE

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on Tuesday amid speculation of further policy action at its next meeting in mid-December.

As a result U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.

The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky.

“The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018.

The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month so far to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.

The dollar has even declined against the Japanese yen, a safe-haven of its own, losing 0.7% in November to reach 103.89 yen, though it remains well above key support at 103.16.

Sterling stood at $1.3334, having climbed steadily this month to its highest since September, as investors wagered a Brexit deal would be brokered even as the deadline for talks loomed ever larger.

One major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% so far in November.

Oil, in contrast, has benefited from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. [O/R]

Some profit-taking set in early Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while U.S. crude eased 60 cents to $44.93 a barrel.

Editing by Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore

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Alberta reports 1,608 new cases of COVID-19, second highest number during pandemic – CBC.ca

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Alberta reported 1,608 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday.

The total number of active cases in Alberta grew to 15,692, according to the province. There are 435 people in the hospital and 95 in intensive care. 

According to the province there is a “brief delay in a death being reported to Alberta Health or in a death being confirmed post-mortem as having COVID-19 as a contributing cause”.

The nine deaths brings the provincial total to 533. Five of which are linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in Edmonton. They include a man and woman, both in their 80s who died on Nov. 25. They had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. A man in his 70s who died on Nov. 26 who also had underlying conditions. Another man and woman in their 90s who died on Nov. 27 also had one or more additional conditions.

The remaining deaths include a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North Zone. The province did not confirm if he had underlying conditions. Another man in his 90s in south zone who died on Nov. 28 also with underlying conditions. 

Another man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in Edmonton Zone who died on Nov. 28, and a man in his 80s who died on Nov. 29 due to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary Zone. The province could not confirm underlying conditions for either. 

A regional breakdown of cases as of Saturday shows the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of the province:

  • Calgary zone: 5,756 active cases

  • South zone: 642 active cases

  • Edmonton zone: 7,230 active cases

  • North zone: 857 active cases

  • Central zone: 1,101 active cases

  • Unknown: 106 active cases

The majority of people in the hospital and ICU are from the Edmonton zone. There are 222 people hospitalized in Edmonton and 50 in intensive care. In comparison, Calgary has 138 people in hospital and 33 in intensive care. The remaining zones’ hospitalizations are in double digits.

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