StatCan released its June payroll report last week, with encouraging results. National numbers were up overall, with just over half of the June payroll employment increase coming from accommodation and food services (+77,400; +8.7%) and retail trade (+35,300; +1.9%), two sectors where employment has been most susceptible to changes in public health measures throughout the pandemic. Most of the June employment increase in these two sectors occurred in Ontario and Quebec, consistent with the loosening of public health measures in these provinces following the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, retailers are still expecting turbulence ahead. Based on the newest Business Conditions Survey, retailers continue to be concerned about their Q3 results. Barely more than one-fifth of businesses in retail trade (20.9%) expected profitability to increase, while 33.1% of retailers expected consumer demand fluctuation to be a problem. Looking forward, maintaining inventory levels (42.5%) and rising costs of inputs (38.8%) were listed as the top two obstacles retail businesses foresee for the next three months.
RCC continues to convey to government that many retailers are still struggling and will require relief initiatives over the coming months.