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Briefing highlights

  • Economic toll from wildfires mounts
  • Canada loses jobs in April
  • Trump's first 100 days?
  • Video: How to say no to more work

The Fort Mac toll

Along with the heartbreaking stories of lost homes and lost livelihoods are initial calculations of the economic hit from the devastating wildfires raging through Fort McMurray.

No one can estimate the toll on the energy industry or the broader economy at this point, as the region continues to burn, but analysts are calculating the mounting damage as Canada’s oil patch is crippled.

As The Globe and Mail’s Jeffrey Jones, Jeff Lewis and Shawn McCarthy report, output in the oil sands has been cut by hundreds of thousands of barrels a day as many producers shut their operations, sending workers to safer areas.

How long this could last isn’t known. But at this point, the estimates range from 800,000 to one million barrels of lost production.

It is, of course, a further blow to a province that had already been hit hard by the collapse in oil prices. Alberta is believed to be in a second year of recession, with unemployment mounting.

Given the importance of the oil patch, Charles St-Arnaud of Nomura’s economic group estimated today that the loss of one million barrels a day would wipe about 0.24 of a percentage point from Canada’s economic growth each week.

In May, 2011, raging wildfires in Alberta cut economic growth in the energy sector by almost 5 per cent that month, BMO Nesbitt Burns senior economist Robert Kavcic recalled in a recent research note.

“Most of the impact will be in the medium term as Fort McMurray will need to be rebuilt, as it is the base for most of the oil sands operations in Alberta,” Mr. St-Arnaud added in an earlier report.

“The reconstruction efforts mean that resources in the construction sector in the region will likely be diverted toward that task rather than towards investment in the oil industry, which could delay some projects and slow further the expansion in oil production.”

Investment in Alberta had already taken a massive hit, and further spending cuts are projected because of the oil shock.

Time-lapse: Trump's first 100 days?

Photo illustration

Jobless rate holds

Canada’s labour market was flat in April after creating 41,000 new positions in the previous month, The Globe and Mail’s Rachelle Younglai reports.

The jobless rate remained at 7.1 per cent, according Statistics Canada’s monthly Labour Force Survey.

The report showed a loss of 2,100 positions –a statistically insignificant number.

Video: How to say no to more work

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