- Read the study
- David Parkinson's Economy Lab: In the U.S., wealth and whiteness increasingly go together
Consumer confidence dips
Along those lines, many of us clearly aren’t raking it in, or are worried that it won’t keep coming.
The Conference Board of Canada’s consumer confidence reading slipped 4.9 points in April, the group said today, continuing a “disconcerting trend” of six dips over seven months.
Confidence picked up in the western provinces, but fell in central and eastern Canada.
“On a national basis, consumers continue to exhibit a considerable amount of trepidation with respect to their finances, and they were much more pessimistic about future job creation in their communities,” the Conference Board said.
Economy grows 0.3 per cent
Chalk up Canada's economic gains in February to its resource industries. And hockey.
The resource sector helped boost economic growth by 0.3 per cent in February, matching January's pace, which was revised up, Statistics Canada said today.
The main drivers behind the rise in gross domestic product were mining, quarrying, and getting oil and gas out of the ground. Those areas expanded by 2.2 per cent, marking the fifth monthly rise.
Output in manufacturing and construction also rose, by 0.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively.
Real estate agents and brokers suffered a setback, of 0.8 per cent, which isn't surprising given the speed at which Canada's real estate market has cooled.
And, yes, the return of hockey after the lockout helped buoy the arts and entertainment sector, by 3.3 per cent.
“Finally there’s something to cheer about in the Canadian economy, with growth picking up in the first quarter, and in the cyclical industries where such a turn is more meaningful,” said chief economist Avery Shenfeld of CIBC World Markets.
“Overall, a ray of sunshine in an economy that needs all it can get, putting Q1 on track for a 2-per-cent pace over all, although one helped by the comparison to a very disappointing second half last year,” he added.
- Canadian economy gathers speed in February
- Economy Lab: Why we love hockey - It helps the economy grow
Business fears government changes
The Canadian government's changes to its temporary worker program have sparked concern that red tape will lead to missed business opportunities, The Globe and Mail's Tavia Grant and Bertrand Marotte report.
The worry among some employers and immigration experts is that delays and difficulties bringing in workers along with higher costs will hamper the ability of firms to fill positions, particularly in areas where workers are hard to find such as remote locations in the Prairies. That in turn will stunt the ability for businesses to grow, which could eventually jeopardize Canadian jobs, they say.
The government reversed course on its expanded temporary worker program yesterday, announcing it will suspend the accelerated labour market opinion, which had sped up the process of bringing in workers, crack down on abuses, add a fee and end the 15-per-cent wage rule, which allowed employers to pay foreign workers less than the average under some circumstances.
Will ECB cut rates?
Inflation is tame and unemployment is rising in the embattled euro zone, so what’s to consider?
All of which is prompting further speculation that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates at its next meeting Thursday.
Inflation in the euro zone is believed to have slipped to just 1.2 per in April, according to the Eurostat agency today, down from 1.7 per cent in March.
Unemployment in the 17-member monetary union, on the other hand, climbed to 12.1 per cent in March from 12 per cent in April, with some countries suffering intolerable levels.
The statistics agency now estimates that 19.2 million people in the euro zone, and 26.5 million in the wider 27-nation European Union, can’t find work.
Greece, Spain and Portugal are struggling under the highest jobless rates in the euro zone, at 27.2 per cent, 26.7 per cent and 17.5 per cent, respectively.
Austria, Germany and Luxembourg enjoy the lowest, at 4.7 per cent, 5.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent.