When the COVID pandemic hit, Saskatchewan’s economy was the least affected among the provinces. Our relatively small population is more focused on business-to-business activity than many of the more densely populated areas such as Toronto, where business-to-consumer is more heavily favoured.
Because of that differentiation, we saw fewer job losses on a percentage basis as the largest hit was taken by the service industry – businesses such as hotels and restaurants. We have plenty of those but, on a percentage basis, we have more industrial or export-oriented activity such as resource production and agriculture.
Those unique characteristics are clearly evident in the July job numbers. The monthly update came out Friday showing we brought back 13,000 jobs, giving us the second lowest unemployment rate in the country behind Manitoba at 8.8 per cent. Most provinces are still in double digits.
We also had the highest employment rate. The opposite of the unemployment rate, this tracks the percentage of people who want to work who have a job.