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COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:October 15, 2020

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Covid-19 could be the start of a better era for women who work (FT) Published on: October 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Women are over-represented in sectors most hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic: they account for about 60 per cent of workers in accommodation services and retail across OECD countries, rising to 75 per cent or more of the retail sectors in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
  • In the UK, mothers were more likely to have asked to be furloughed than fathers. In the US, the proportion of women in the labour force has dropped back to the same level it was when Ronald Reagan was president.
  • Yet the pandemic has also brought hope. Forced to experiment with remote working, Japanese companies from Fujitsu to Hitachi have realised workers can be just as productive, probably more so, without long hours in the office.
Canada’s SMEs cautiously optimistic they’ll survive the pandemic: BDC study (The Logic) Published on: October 7, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • Small- and mid-sized businesses surveyed in May and June by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) expressed cautious optimism about their ability to weather the pandemic, despite the vast majority reporting revenue declines and nearly half reporting layoffs.
  • Priorities for many of the 1,000 SMEs surveyed include restoring their financial health, focusing on remote work and selling online.
  • Meanwhile, 55 per cent believed remote work would have a positive impact on innovation and 52 per cent said it could improve employee productivity.
Trump Halts Covid-19 Relief Aid Talks Until After Election (WSJ) Published on: October 6, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • President Trump pulled the plug on bipartisan coronavirus relief talks, putting off efforts to get more aid to struggling households and businesses at least until after Election Day, an abrupt move that jolted Wall Street and surprised lawmakers of both parties.
  • The call to end talks came hours after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of dire economic consequences if Congress and the White House don’t provide additional support to households and businesses disrupted by the pandemic.
  • Recent economic data have shown the pace of the recovery slowing without additional fiscal support.
The emerging resilients: Achieving ‘escape velocity’ (McKinsey) Published on: October 6, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • The experience of the fast movers out of the last recession teaches leaders emerging from this one to take thoughtful actions to balance growth, margins, and optionality.
  • Heavily affected sectors have experienced revenue declines of between 25 percent and 45 percent. These include transportation and tourism, automotive, and oil and gas—sectors containing some of the largest employers in Europe and the United States.
  • Leaders can thus assume dynamic business conditions through 2021 as they begin this year’s planning cycle. Wise planners will prepare for a number of outcomes, including a further drift in present conditions or a worsening downturn.
Canada’s competition watchdog talks enforcement during a pandemic (The Logic) Published on: October 6, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • While the pandemic has created some hiccoughs for Canada’s competition commissioner, he has no intention of letting it slow him down long term.
  • Boswell is transforming the regulator as quickly as he can, using new tools like robotic process automation and by hiring data analysts, to get ready for the fights to come.
  • U.S. and European regulators are generally well ahead of Canada when it comes to antitrust investigations into tech giants—but it isn’t just tech where Boswell is trying to catch up.
Canadians divided over whether to let pandemic disrupt Halloween, holidays, poll suggests (CTV News) Published on: October 6, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Global Response
  • As for the Christmas holiday season, 49 per cent said they’ll change their plans, 44 per cent said they won’t.
  • Seventy-four per cent said they’ll celebrate with close or immediate family members to keep their social interactions to a minimum, 54 per cent said they’ll limit celebrations to a smaller number of visitors, 40 per cent plan to issue strict instructions against kissing, hugging or handshaking, and 37 per cent plan to avoid air travel.
  • Thirty per cent said they’ll hold virtual celebrations and 25 per cent said they won’t attend religious services or celebrations they would otherwise have gone to.
Surging appliance sales, supply chain issues lead to shortages ahead of Black Friday (The Globe and Mail) Published on: October 6, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • Experts say the situation could worsen if the second wave of the pandemic intensifies as the busy holiday spending period gets underway.
  • “We have absolutely also seen increased demand for our products, as consumers who may have had other major purchases planned this year appear to be reinvesting their dollars in home improvement and renovation projects,” said GE Appliances Canada chief brand officer Bob Park in an emailed statement.
‘Show me the evidence, hard, hard evidence:’ Ford wants more data before banning indoor dining in Toronto (CP24) Published on: October 5, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • Premier Doug Ford says he needs to see “hard evidence” before agreeing to shut down indoor dining in the country’s largest city, which continues to see a rapid surge in new COVID-19 infections.
  • Williams said that additional measures were taken on Friday, when the province announced that no more than 100 customers are allowed in restaurants at one time and no more than six people can be seated at a table, restrictions that were already in place in Toronto.
‘Zoom-worthy’ pieces like earrings and necklaces are selling though jewelry is expected to take a COVID-19 hit in 2020 (Market Watch) Published on: October 5, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Signet Jewelers Ltd. Chief Executive Virginia Drosos told MarketWatch that “Zoom-worthy jewelry” and bridal pieces like engagement rings continue attract consumers during the pandemic.
  • “Consumers are buying jewelry that represents the times,” Drosos said, highlighting things that are top-of-mind for consumers these days like good health and strong relationships.
  • “The category was repositioned over lockdown as a way for consumers to dress up casual pieces,” reads a report from Edited, a retail market intelligence platform.
10 tech predictions that could mean huge changes ahead (ZDNet) Published on: October 5, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • CCS Insights published 100 tech predictions for the next few years, and the COVID-19 pandemic lurks behind many of them.
  • For example, CCS Insights anticipated a wave of products that will improve the so-called “home-working last mile”.
  • The pandemic has also renewed some interest in the extended reality sector, with over half of medium and large businesses expected to adopt extended reality devices by 2025, pushed by the launch of better hardware by Apple and Facebook.
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