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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 20, 2023

Retail sales posted largest drop in eleven months in November, EI claimants at lowest level on record, and more.

In this edition:

Retail sales posted largest drop of 2022 in November

Posting their largest decrease in 11 months, core retail sales fell 1.1% in November, led by lower sales at food and beverage stores (-1.6%). Decreases were observed in all four store types in this subsector, led by lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores (-1.3%). The Consumer Price Index (CPI) noted that prices of food purchased from stores rose 11.4% on a year-over-year basis.

Sales decreased in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 47.4% of retail trade.

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EI claimants at lowest level on record

In November, 396,000 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down by 23,000 (-5.4%) from October. This was the lowest number of EI beneficiaries on record since comparable data became available in 1997, outside of the summer of 2020 when the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit was in place.

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Watch out for ‘hawkish signal’ from Bank of Canada next week: Capital Economics

In 2020, with the economy the middle of an epic recession, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem pledged to keep interest rates near zero for a couple of years. Now, with inflation well off the central bank’s target, investors should brace for a “hawkish signal” that rates will need to stay higher for longer to crush cost pressures, research firm Capital Economics warned.

“The Bank of Canada is set to raise interest rates by a smaller 25 basis points next week,” Stephen Brown said in a note on Jan. 18. “While many will be looking for clues that this will be the end of the tightening cycle, the key risk to market pricing is that the bank sends a hawkish signal by including new forward guidance that it expects interest rates to remain high for longer than is widely assumed.”

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Ontario expands Learn and Stay grant for healthcare workers

The Ontario government is connecting over a dozen underserved and growing communities with more health care workers by expanding the Learn and Stay grant. The grant, which was announced in March 2022 for students who enrol in nursing programs, will also include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities. Eligible students will receive full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate.

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Skilled Trades Ontario marks one-year anniversary

Skilled Trades Ontario (STO), Ontario’s agency responsible for apprenticeship and skilled trades certification, is celebrating its one-year anniversary by updating training and curriculum standards. With one-quarter of all apprentices in Canada training in Ontario, STO is delivering on its mandate of increasing labour mobility and improving training standards for apprentices and skilled trades workers.

Since its launch last year, apprenticeship registrations increased by thousands in 2022 compared to 2021 and more than 13,000 students, parents, and teachers attended skilled trades career fairs.

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Focus on Crypto

Crypto lending teeters on brink of extinction after Genesis collapse

The bankruptcy of crypto’s marquee lender, Genesis Global Capital, may be one more blow than the industry can withstand, at least in its current form.

The list of bull-market stars laid low now includes nearly every major player to have captured the public’s attention by offering market-beating returns for the simple act of depositing tokens. Genesis joins BlockFi Inc., Celsius Network and Voyager Digital among firms whose collapse have left countless clients angry and unlikely to risk more money on their daredevil exploits.

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Through the Daily Updates, the GNCC aims to deliver important business news in a timely manner. We disseminate all news and information we feel will be important to businesses. Inclusion in the Daily Update is not an endorsement by the GNCC.

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