Collectively, Quebec households literally “got richer” during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, that is to say during the first three quarters of 2020.
In light of the last statement from the Québec Economic Accounts, that of the third quarter of 2020, household “disposable income” increased by $ 24 billion during the first three quarters, compared to the same period in 2019.
We are talking about a 12.4% increase in disposable income in the midst of a pandemic! It should be noted here that “disposable income” represents the income available to households to consume, after deducting taxes and social contributions from gross income earned by households.
Another indicator of collective enrichment even more striking in this period of pandemic? Quebecers have managed to save four times more during these three quarters of the war against COVID-19 than during the previous year. They saved $ 47.3 billion, up from $ 11.6 billion in 2019.
This is nothing less than $ 35.7 billion more in net savings than in the previous year.
How can we explain such “collective enrichment” when we were going through the most serious economic crisis in history following the first confinement triggered last March?
The “secret” of this astonishing enrichment during the health crisis and the economic crisis ultimately lies in the famous “Canada’s Economic Response Plan to Respond to COVID-19” that Justin Trudeau put in place at the start of this year. the pandemic.
In particular, the Canada Emergency Benefit (ECP) paid to individuals and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (SSUC) granted to businesses to keep their employees at work which played a decisive role in the level of household income during the period. of the first nine months of 2020.
The two million Quebecers who were victims of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 were able to make ends meet with the $ 18.5 billion in income derived from the PCU alone. And as we know, a portion of these beneficiaries received with the PCU an income higher than what they earned before the pandemic!
In addition to these PCU beneficiaries, there are the 957,000 Quebec employees who were able to keep their jobs through the attractive wage subsidy (SSUC) that the federal government paid to their employers during the period from March 15 to last September 26.
The SSUC reported in six months the sum of 10.3 billion dollars in terms of the remuneration of Quebec households. Thus, despite the highly negative impact of the pandemic, the compensation received by Quebec employees increased slightly during the first three quarters. Instead of falling, given the paralysis of several economic sectors …
Besides the PCU and SSUC, other federal financial assistance measures have helped the households most affected by COVID-19 survive.
In the end, this is why Quebec households found themselves at the end of last September with disposable income that was $ 24 billion higher than the same period in 2019.
And if net savings ultimately exceed accumulated savings by $ 35 billion in 2019, it is because households also reduced their consumer spending by $ 11 billion during this period.
Note that the same trend of household enrichment during the pandemic was observed across the country.