Canadian Outlook Summary: Summer 2020 (PDF)

The Conference Board of Canada, 20 pages, June 22, 2020
Impact paper
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This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Canadian Outlook report, which presents the short-term national outlook.

Document Highlights

  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. Mandated business closures and a collapse in both business and consumer confidence will result in an 8.2 per cent contraction for the Canadian economy this year—the worst annual contraction on record.
  • At its peak, roughly 3 million Canadians had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The worst does appear to have passed, however, as nearly 300,000 jobs were regained in May. Nevertheless, the road to recovery will be long and employment will still be nearly 1.1 million lower for 2020 as a whole than it was in 2019.
  • The devastation in labour markets is weighing heavily on spending this year. Household consumption dipped by 11.3 per cent in the first quarter, and we expect a staggering 57.5 per cent drop in the second. And while a recovery is inevitable in the second half of the year, spending is not forecast to return to its pre-pandemic level until the second half of 2021.
  • The business sector will fare no better. With global demand drying up, exports are forecast to contract by 14.3 per cent in 2020. Unsurprisingly in this uncertain environment, firms are reluctant to invest in new capacity, and we expect an 11.3 per cent drop in private sector investment this year.
  • With the worst of the recession likely over, the outlook for 2021 is brighter. The economy is forecast to rebound by 6.7 per cent in 2021 and 4.8 per cent in 2022. As the threat of the pandemic eases, how well the reopening of the economy and the withdrawal of government support is managed will be a crucial determinant of the economy’s trajectory over the next several years.

Table of Contents

  • Key findings
  • Recovery under way after deepest and shortest recession on record
  • Global and U.S. outlooks
  • Business sector
  • Household sector
  • Pandemic hits housing markets
  • Government to the rescue
  • Central banks enter uncharted waters

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