Canadian Employment (June) – July, 2020

Canadian employment grew by 953,000 jobs in June (5.8%, m/m). This, combined with the increase in May, represents 40 per cent of the jobs lost in March and April. The national unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points to 12.3 per cent from the previous month. The employment gains in June were somewhat evenly split between full-time work (488,000) and part-time work (465,000).

Regionally, all provinces reported an increase in employment as all had substantially eased COVID-19 measures. Ontario and Quebec made up two-thirds of the gain. Strong gains were reported in accommodation and food services, and retail, which were industries hardest hit by the pandemic. However, employment levels in these industries are still below pre-COVID levels. In June, employment rose slightly faster among women than men, but on a cumulative basis, men are at 92 per cent of pre-COVID levels, while women are at 89 per cent. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by -8.5% (-1.6 million).

Meanwhile, employment in BC grew by 118,100 jobs (5.4%, m/m) in June, following a gain of 43,000 jobs in the previous month. Gains in the last two months represented 40 per cent of jobs lost in BC in March and April. June’s employment gain brought down the unemployment rate by 0.4 percentage points to 13 per cent. Half of the employment increase was in accommodation and food services (55k), followed by professional services (18k) and retail (16k). This is consistent with the province’s gradual reopening. Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 10% (-267k) jobs.

This was another good news report, as it appears we continue to be on a slow path to recovery. At the same time, much of the gains were in industries that were waiting to reopen. There are still structural changes that need to work their way through the system, as some individuals who were furloughed may now be permanently unemployed. Also important are consumers’ demand for goods and services, which is expected to be hampered by the still 235,000 unemployed individuals in BC.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Shifting Into Night Work

Most of us aren’t used to working all night, but with many of us working from home, chances are your schedule has changed. Here are some strategies to get into the groove of working a night shift:

  • Manage your sleep during the day— not just how long, but how soundly.
  • Get rid of all distractions, especially the phone.
  • Try to sleep at the same time every day.
  • Keep sleeping temperature about 68 degrees.
  • Use earplugs to keep noise at bay. You can also muffle intrusive sounds with a fan or “white noise” machine.
  • Accept changes in your schedule. Don’t try to maintain your normal routine; keep social events and family outings at times that fit your new work schedule needs.
  • Eat light at night and get extra servings of fruits and veggies, cereal, pasta and rice.

Canadian Housing Starts (June) – July, 2020

Canadian housing starts increased by 8% m/m to 211,681 units in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The gain in June put starts back at pre-pandemic levels. The trend in national housing starts fell to an average of 199,700 units SAAR over the past six months. Housing starts were up in five of 10 provinces with Ontario driving the increase.

In BC, growth in housing starts was flat in June, following a 29% increase in the previous month. Historically speaking, starts in the province are still robust but have been trending downwards since the fall of 2019. Housing starts have shown resilience during the pandemic and in the near future will depend on demand as unemployment levels remain elevated and as government support programs wind down. Meanwhile, building permits for May were up by 4.4% in the province.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:

Housing starts in Vancouver were down by 5% m/m in June to 23,577 units SAAR. Multi-units were down by 9%, while singles were up by 26%. Compared to last year in June, housing starts were down by 43%, which marks the third consecutive month of negative year-over-year growth.

In Victoria, housing starts were down by 23% m/m to 2,342 units SAAR. Compared to a year ago in June, housing starts were down by 5%.

In Kelowna, housing starts increased by 61% m/m to 2,858. Starts were up by 1% in the region compared to the same time last year.

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were up by 18% at 590 units SAAR. Compared to the same time last year, new home construction was down by 25%.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

The Canvas

One day a professor asked his students to prepare for an extra credit test he said he would be emailing them at home.

The class was surprised because the summer session was almost over and final grades were already pretty well established.

That evening, each student received a photograph of a large yellow canvas with one gray dot painted in the middle, along with instructions to write an essay on the painting.

When the professor received the answers back, all of the students, without exception, described the gray dot, its position on the canvas, the contrast and so on. After reading all the answers, the professor sent a follow up email out to all the students:

“I am not going to grade you on this test; I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the yellow section of the canvas.

Everyone focused on the gray dot and the same thing happens in our lives. We have a whole canvas in front of us, but we are so busy focusing on the dark spot in the middle.

Life is a special gift with different layers: our friends, livelihood, love, family, and the miracles we see every day. I want you all to realize the dark spots in our lives are just one thing on a very large, bright personal canvas.

Take your eyes away from the apparent spots in your life and enjoy each one of your blessings and each moment that life gives you.

I wish you the best!”

An Elephant Never Forgets

An elephant drinking from a stream spotted a tortoise lounging on the shore. He grabbed it with his trunk and flung it into the jungle.

A passing zebra asked, “Why did you do that?”

“Forty years ago, that tortoise nipped my tail just for fun,” the elephant said.

“Wow, 40 years ago! How did you remember that?” “I have turtle recall,” replied the elephant.