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Bank of Canada survey says business hiring plans remain muted due to pandemic

Last Updated Jul 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm EDT

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Companies that have laid off workers are telling the Bank of Canada they plan to refill some positions over the next year, but many hiring plans remain muted over COVID-19-related uncertainty.

The central bank’s quarterly business outlook survey released today suggests many service sector and energy companies don’t expect a return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

About one-third say they have used a federal wage subsidy to reduce or avoid layoffs, while other firms looking to rehire or hire new staff cited an emergency federal benefit for workers as a hurdle to their plans.

The worry among workers about losing their job rose to the highest level seen in the central bank’s survey of consumer expectations, released alongside the business outlook.

As well, workers’ expectations of how easily they could find new work dropped to the lowest level since the 2015 oil price shock.

Consumers’ expectations for wage growth were below what they anticipated for inflation, while the outlook for growth in household income dropped to its lowest level in the survey’s history.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press