Economic Update: Unemployment rate improves, Empire Life announces profits for Q3

Kingston’s unemployment rate has decreased to 8.5% in October, from 9.1% in September. While the results show a -0.6% improvement, they also reflect a broader slowdown in Canada's economic recovery as new restrictions have come into play.

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Kingston’s unemployment rate has decreased to 8.5% in October, from 9.1% in September. While the results show a -0.6% improvement, they also reflect a broader slowdown in Canada’s economic recovery as new restrictions have come into play.

The employment rate for Kingston also improved, increasing to 56.7%, from 56.1% in September. 

“October Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of October 11 to 17. By then, several provinces had tightened public health measures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases,” Statistics Canada said in a report.

The spike in cases continues, as Ontario reported a record of 1,132 of new COVID-19 cases on November 7th. 

On October 16th, Mayor Bryan Paterson, along with the Chamber of Commerce, spoke about supporting small business during COVID-19. Part of the initiatives spoken about include the Love Kingston Marketplace initiative throughout the summer. However they are actively trying to find new ways to attract people to downtown business. 

“We need to do events such as a festival of lights, skating and doing other activities that will draw people out but make people feel as safe as possible,” Patterson said.

Other Kingston industries did not experience such harsh declines. On October 29th, Kingston based Empire Life Insurance announced a $51 million dollar common shareholder revenue compared to $35 million in Q3 2019.

“The increase in third quarter earnings was primarily a result of the favourable impact from changes in the investments supporting the Individual Insurance line, partially offset by increases in policy liabilities for segregated fund guarantees,” the statement by Empire Life said. 

Empire Life also attributes the improvement their ability to maintain “continuity” between the safety of their workforce and their customers. They have also worked to integrate new technologies into their operations.

“Our investments in technology enable us to provide superior service to our customers while working remotely, and we continue to invest in the development of our digital platforms in order to make it simple, fast, and easy for our customers to access our products and services,” says Mark Sylvia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Empire Life Insurance.

Nationally, employment increased by 84,000 (+0.5) in October, following a growth of 2.7% every month since May. While several industries experienced improved economic conditions, Quebec saw a large drop in its food and accommodations industry. This resulted in a loss of 48,000 jobs nationally. 

Notably, the Labour Survey finds that self employment has grown by 33,000. This is good news given that self employed individuals were particularly hit hard last spring. The self-employed lost 79,000 jobs between February and April.

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