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TrendLine Saskatchewan - March 2020


INSIDE


  • Labour Market
  • Consumer
  • Manufacturing Sales
  • International Trade
  • Construction
  • Culture
  • Saskatchewan Economy
  • Population
  • TrendLine Report Card

Employment numbers remain strong (pre-pandemic), but consumers are still reluctant...

The number of those employed in the province continues to advance in the first two months of 2020.

However, the increase in the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate in February 2020 (pre-pandemic) may prove to be problematic over the remainder of the year.

In the final quarter of 2019, the consumer remained reluctant to open their wallet, with year-to-date retail sales and new motor vehicle sales down, despite employment growth and the province's population reaching an all-time high.

Led by apartment starts, home construction activity saw a rebound in February 2020 starts (after an exceptionally weak 2019). Building permit data remains soft, with only industrial building permits in recovery.

Meanwhile, wholesale trade, restaurant receipts and international exports are up, manufacturing sales are down, and the rate of increase in average weekly earnings is staying slightly ahead of inflation.

Stephen Johnson

MA
Senior Economist

Composite Indicator Actual & Seasonally Adjusted

Key Indicator This Month

Retail trade

0.5%

Year-to-Date

  Labour Market

Year-to-Date Employment up 0.8% in February 2020

Total average year-to-date employment in Saskatchewan was up 0.8% or 4,400 positions in February 2020 over the same period in 2019.

  • Year-to-date employment was up over the same period in 2019 in: Agriculture (250), Manufacturing (3,600), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (100), Professional, scientific and technical services (600), Educational services (3,300), Information, culture and recreation (3,100), Accommodation and food services (450), Other services (2,200), and Public administration (2,800).
  • Year-to-date employment in February 2020 was down in: Resource Extraction (-1,800), Utilities (-1,300), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-1,350), Transportation and warehousing (-750), Business, building and other support services (-700), and Health care and social assistance (-550).

The average year-to-date unemployment rate increased from 5.9% in February 2019 to 6.2% in February 2020. Year-to-date, the average number of unemployed is up from 35,150 in February 2019 to 37,800 in February 2020 (or 2,650). With employment advancing by 4,400, employment growth did not keep pace with increases in the numbers of those actively seeking employment.

Year-to-date December 2019 average weekly earnings are up 2.7% over December 2018.

  • Sub sectors that posted increases were: Goods producing industries (3.4%), Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (5.5%), Construction (0.1%), Manufacturing (3.7%), Non-durable goods (4.8%), Durable goods (3.7%), Service producing industries (2.5%), Trade (1.4%), Retail trade (2.7%), Transportation and warehousing (7.2%), Information and cultural industries (4.0%), Finance and insurance (0.1%), Professional, scientific and technical services (4.8%), Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (4.5%), Educational services (1.0%), Education special (1.4%), Health care and social assistance (4.8%), Arts, entertainment and recreation (2.6%), Accommodation and food services (4.5%), Other services (except public administration) (2.3%), and Public administration (2.5%). 
  • Sub sectors that posted decreases were: Wholesale trade (-0.7%), Real estate and rental and leasing (-0.2%), and Management of companies and enterprises (-13.4%).

*Average wage data by industry can be found in table format under "Available Downloads" at the bottom of the report.

Employment

4,400

Positions (February 2020 Year-to-Date)

Average Weekly Earnings

2.7%

December 2019 Year-to-Date

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Labour Market Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Employment 564800 569700 566300 570700 - -
Unemployment Rate (%) 5.9 6.2 5.9 6.2 - -
Average Weekly Earnings ($) 1016 1059 1014 1041 - -

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  Consumer

December 2019 year-to-date retail trade down 0.5% over the same period in 2018

December 2019 year-to-date retail trade is down by -0.5% over the same period in 2018.

  • Sub sectors that posted increases were: Used car dealers (20.4%), Gasoline stations (2.9%), Health and personal care stores (2.8%), Grocery stores (2.2%), General merchandise stores (0.1%), and All other (1.7%).
  • Sub sectors that posted declines were: New car dealers (-3.3%), Furniture and home furnishings stores (-0.6%), Electronics and appliance stores (-25.0%), Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-4.4%), Clothing and clothing accessories stores (-4.9%), Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-2.8%), and Beer, wine and liquor stores (-2.0%). 

December 2019 year-to-date new motor vehicle sales were down -3.1% from December 2018. New minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses sales were down -0.8%, while New passenger cars sales were also down -17.2%.

December 2019 year-to-date restaurant receipts were up 1.2% over the same period in 2018. Within restaurant receipts, Special food services (1.7%), Full-service restaurants (1.8%), and Limited-service eating places (2.1%) increased. At the same time, declines were noted in Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) (-13.3%).

Retail Trade

0.5%

December 2019 year-to-date

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Consumer Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change
Consumer Price Index (2002=100) 137.4 140.6 137.4 140.6 - -
Retail Trade Total ($000s) 1652379 1669789 19509038 19404242 - -
New Motor Vehicle Sales (units) 3161 3079 50224 48669 - -
Restaurant Receipts ($000s) 161643 162460 1897712 1920439 - -

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  Manufacturing Sales

December 2019 Year-to-Date Manufacturing Sales Down 9.5%

Wholesale trade up 0.7%

December 2019 year-to-date manufacturing sales are down by -9.5% over the same period in 2018.

  • Sub sectors that posted increases were: Fabricated metal product manufacturing sales (18.4%).
  • Sub sectors that posted declines were: Food manufacturing sales (-5.0%), Machinery manufacturing sales (-11.5%), and All other Manufacturing sales (-13.4%).

December 2019 year-to-date wholesale trade was up 0.7% over the same period in 2018.

  • Sub sectors that posted increases were: Farm product merchant wholesalers (12.2%), Building material and supplies merchant wholesalers (0.5%), and All other (411.4%).
  • Sub sectors that posted declines were: Food, beverage and tobacco merchant wholesalers (-12.1%) and Machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (-8.0%).

Manufacturing Sales

9.5%

December 2019 Year-to-Date

Wholesale Trade

0.7%

December 2019 Year-to-Date

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Manufacturing Sales Dec 2018 Dec 2019 Change % Change Dec 2018 Dec 2019 Change % Change
Manufacturing Sales Total ($000s) 1272014 1063444 17859129 16155651 - -
Wholesale Trade ($000s) 2222279 1880833 26889011 27086632 - -

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  International Trade

Total International Merchandise Exports Down 3.1% Year-to-Date January 2020

Total International merchandise exports were down -3.1% year-to-date January 2020 over January 2019.

  • Sub sectors that posted increases were: Farm, fishing and intermediate food products (1.6%), Energy products (100.5%), Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products (1.8%), Electronic and electrical equipment and parts (35.2%), and Special transactions (2.0%).
  • Sub sectors that posted decreases were: Metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-33.3%), Metal and non-metallic mineral products (-80.9%), Forestry products and building and packaging materials (-24.6%), Industrial machinery, equipment and parts (-10.1%), Motor vehicles and parts (-4.3%), Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-69.0%), and Consumer goods (-25.9%).

Total International Merchandise Exports

3.1%

January 2020 year-to-date

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
International Trade Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change
International Trade Domestic Exports ($000s) 2368177 2440647 2368177 2440647 - -
International Trade Imports ($000s) 1014969 970749 1014969 970749 - -
Net International Merchandise Trade ($000s) 1353208 1469898 1353208 1469898 - -

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  Construction

Year-to-date February Construction Employment Down 12.7%

Construction employment declined throughout 2019 with weak housing and residential building permit activity. In the first 2 months of 2020, this trend is continuing. Year-to-date January construction employment is down by 5,550 positions or 12.7% from the same period in 2019.

Rebounding from a soft 2019, total year-to-date housing starts in February 2020 are up by 158 units or 74.9%. Year-to-date increases were observed in singles (8 units or 7.2%), row (8 units or 21.1%), and apartment and other types (146 units or 270.4%). Year-to-date declines were noted in semi-detached (-4 units or -50.0%).

January 2020 year-to-date building permits are down -15.2% over the same period in 2019.  The only sub sector that posted an increase was industrial (10.3%). During the same time period, residential (-24.9%), commercial (-8.0%), and institutional and governmental (-45.0%), posted declines.

Construction Employment

12.7%

February 2020 year-to-date

Housing Starts

74.9%

February 2020 year-to-date

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Construction Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Housing Starts Total (Units) 75 128 211 369 - -
Building Permits Total ($000s) 107726 91401 107726 91401 - -
Building Permits Residential ($000s) 54483 40910 54483 40910 - -
Building Permits Non-Residential ($000s) 53243 50491 53243 50491 - -

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  Culture

Information, Culture and Recreation Employment Up 15.7%

February 2020 year-to-date Information, culture and recreation employment is up 15.7% or 3,100 positions over the same period in 2019.

Information, Culture & Recreation

3,100

Positions (February 2020 year-to-date)

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Culture Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Employment Information, Culture and Recreation 20100 22700 19750 22850 - -

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  Saskatchewan Economy

Bank of Canada Drops Rate to 0.25% in March 2020

Real GDP forecasted at 1.2% growth in 2020

In 3 dramatic rate cuts on March 4th, 13th, and 27th, 2020, the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25%. The Central Bank initially cut its rate to 1.25% at a previously scheduled meeting on March 4th to help counteract the impact of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The unscheduled rate decisions on March 13th and 27th shaved a further percentage point from the rate as a proactive measure to boost the economy amid COVID-19 fears.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, the Provincial economy shrank slightly in 2019, following a 1.6 percent increase in 2018. The forecast for 2020 is for 1.2% growth in real GDP.

Real GDP Forecast: 2020

1.2%

Conference Board of Canada

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Saskatchewan Economy 2019 2020 (Forecast) Change % Change - - - -
Gross Domestic Product (2007 $M) 82479 83452 - - - -

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  Population

SK Population Hits Record-Breaking High in Q1 2020

2020 Q1 provincial population was up 1.0% over 2019 Q1 to an all-time high of 1,181,666 on the strength of a 3,562 person surge in international in-migration.

Provincial Population

1,181,666

1.0% Increase Over Q1 2019

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Population 2019 Q1 2020 Q1 Change % Change - - - -
Population (persons) 1170028 1181666 - - - -

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  TrendLine Report Card - March 2020

INDICATOR MONTH TO MONTH YEAR TO DATE
Labour Market Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Employment 564800 569700 566300 570700 - -
Unemployment Rate (%) 5.9 6.2 5.9 6.2 - -
Average Weekly Earnings ($) 1016 1059 1014 1041 - -
Consumer Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change
Consumer Price Index (2002=100) 137.4 140.6 137.4 140.6 - -
Retail Trade Total ($000s) 1652379 1669789 19509038 19404242 - -
New Motor Vehicle Sales (units) 3161 3079 50224 48669 - -
Restaurant Receipts ($000s) 161643 162460 1897712 1920439 - -
Manufacturing Sales Dec 2018 Dec 2019 Change % Change Dec 2018 Dec 2019 Change % Change
Manufacturing Sales Total ($000s) 1272014 1063444 17859129 16155651 - -
Wholesale Trade ($000s) 2222279 1880833 26889011 27086632 - -
International Trade Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change Jan 2019 Jan 2020 Change % Change
International Trade Domestic Exports ($000s) 2368177 2440647 2368177 2440647 - -
International Trade Imports ($000s) 1014969 970749 1014969 970749 - -
Net International Merchandise Trade ($000s) 1353208 1469898 1353208 1469898 - -
Construction Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Housing Starts Total (Units) 75 128 211 369 - -
Building Permits Total ($000s) 107726 91401 107726 91401 - -
Building Permits Residential ($000s) 54483 40910 54483 40910 - -
Building Permits Non-Residential ($000s) 53243 50491 53243 50491 - -
Culture Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change Feb 2019 Feb 2020 Change % Change
Employment Information, Culture and Recreation 20100 22700 19750 22850 - -
Saskatchewan Economy 2019 2020 (Forecast) Change % Change - - - -
Gross Domestic Product (2007 $M) 82479 83452 - - - -
Population 2019 Q1 2020 Q1 Change % Change - - - -
Population (persons) 1170028 1181666 - - - -

Sources: Statistics Canada Tables 14-10-0017-01, 34-10-0143-01, 14-10-0355-01, 18-10-0004-01, 34-10-0066-01, 17-10-0005-01, 17-10-0008-01, 20-10-0008-01, 16-10-0048-01, 20-10-0001-01, 21-10-0019-01, 12-10-0012-01,14-10-0358-01, and Conference Board of Canada Metropolitan Outlook Autumn 2019. Note: All data presented above is raw/not seasonally adjusted. Some date headings may not apply to every indicator in each sector. Please link to the additional tables for a comprehensive data overview.

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This Issue's Economist:

Stephen Johnson

MA
Senior Economist

This Issue's Editor:

Jennifer Longo

BAH, MBA
Strategic Research Consultant


TrendLine Saskatchewan is published monthly by Praxis Consulting.