Statistics Canada released some happy data on January 6. The agency reported that the economy created 54,000 jobs in December, an uncommonly large number for a single month. We also learned that the value of exports exceeded that of imports for the first time in more than two years in November. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz for months has argued that Canada’s economy isn’t terrible. This new data suggests he’s right.
We must be careful of making too much of one month, of course. Trade figures are especially volatile, so it is too soon to declare that exports are back. If they are, Canada could be in store for a decent 2017, assuming the next U.S. president backs away from threats to harass his country’s biggest trading partners. (A trade deficit with the United States would make it harder for Donald Trump to say that Canada is “winning” from the North American Free Trade Agreement at America’s expense.) StatsCan said employment increased by 108,000 in the final three months of 2016, the largest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2010. That represented more than half of the 214,000 positions created over the calendar year. Record levels of household debt surely will constrain consumer spending, but employment gains should steady household demand.
What else? Here are a few more things to note from the latest batch of significant Canadian economic data:
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