Saskatoon

Saskatoon economy continues to recover from COVID-19

The Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) says the tide is turning for city businesses, roughly one year after the arrival of COVID-19 in the province.

SREDA estimates Saskatoon economy now 58.5% recovered from pre-COVID levels

The Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) estimates the city's economy has recovered by 58.5 per cent from pre-COVID levels. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) says the tide is turning for city businesses, roughly one year after the arrival of COVID-19 in the province.

On Thursday, the business group released its latest Saskatoon Economic Recovery Tracker Report, which estimates the city's economy has recovered to 58.5 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

SREDA CEO Alex Fallon says passing the halfway point in the province's economic recovery is a significant milestone.

"Overall, we're happy where we're at because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Fallon.

"Being halfway over that recovery is, I think, a good psychological benefit and impact."

According to the report, different sectors of the economy are at very different stages of recovery.

While retail sales and manufacturing have completely rebounded at 100 per cent of their levels last year, employment is down by 15,900 jobs and hotel stays are only at 52.9 per cent recovered.

Fallon said small businesses continue to be especially hard hit by COVID-19.

"The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is for them," he said. 

"But on the positive side, what we're starting to see is the overall economy starting to recover. And that bodes well for small businesses, because hopefully more customers will be coming back to them."

The CEO said governments need to be careful while crafting their re-opening plans. 

"It'll be important that when the economy does continue to open more, we don't have to go back into some sort of shutdown because that could be hard for companies to sustain," he said.

"If people continue to have confidence in this recovery, that's a good thing. And if we have to go down into a bunch of further lockdowns, then that has a negative impact on confidence." 

The recovery tracker report used numbers from Statistics Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, the International Monetary Fund and industry associations to draft the report.

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