These are stories Report on Business followed this week.
Given the ups and downs of a brutally slow global recovery, you can never tell exactly what you're going to get.
But that icy winter appears to be giving way to a brighter spring.
We've been here before, of course, and we've seen these "green shoots" before. But economists are hopeful as indicators pick up in Canada and the United States, and the euro debt crisis fades into memory, though not for the unemployed.
"Green shoots (remember that relic from the financial crisis?) were all over the economic data this week," said senior economist Robert Kavcic of BMO Nesbitt Burns, referring to various indicators, including Canadian gross domestic product, U.S. manufacturing, and auto sales "just shy of the best level in seven years."
The week began with Statistics Canada reporting Monday that the economy rebounded in January, expanding by 0.5 per cent and undoing the losses of a wintry December.
Later in the week, the federal agency reported that Canada's trade balance rebounded in February to a $290-million surplus as a big jump in exports turned the trade picture around from January's $337-million deficit.
Friday's better-than-expected labour market report capped off the week, with a fresh measure showing unemployment dipping to 6.9 per cent in March amid job creation to the tune of almost 43,000.
At the same time, the U.S. economy scored a decent reading, though the jobless rate held firm.
The jobs picture in Canada isn't completely spring-like, though over the course of the year, employment is up by 190,000. The letdown came in the fact that part-time work represented the bulk of the gains, at some 30,000, though full-time positions did climb by almost 4,000.
At the same time, the public sector accounted for more than 39,000 new jobs, the private sector for 4,000.
All in all, good news, yes. But …
"While all of this positive economic data are reassuring, Canada's economy isn't firing on all cylinders just yet," said Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Leslie Preston.
- Barrie McKenna: Canada's economy bounces back, grows 0.5% in January
- Canada swings to trade surplus, exports hit pre-crisis high
- Tavia Grant: Public sector leads job creation
- Kevin Carmichael: March hires suggest cold winter a mere hiccup
- David Parkinson in ROB Insight (for subscribers): Inflation comes to Canada (and that's good)
The week's top news
- Boyd Erman and Greg Keenan: Proxy battle looms at auto parts maker Martinerea
- Rachelle Younglai: Osisko finds white knight in Yamana
- Rita Trichur: New chair, same boss at Telus
- Marina Strauss: HBC sees REIT on horizon, but outlook turns cloudy
- Rachelle Younglai: Thornton gets $9.5-million as Barrick revamps compensation methods
The week's must-reads
- Richard Blackwell: Tunnel vision: Most Canadian CEOs believe the economy must diversify
- Omar El Akkad: Strategy, spit conspire in BlackBerry's T-Mobile breakup
- Marina Strauss: Amazon raises the ante on Canadian offerings
- Tara Perkins: Holes in housing market data have economists worried
- Joanna Slater: High-frequency stock trading goes under the microscope
The week in Business Briefing
- Speculators scramble to cover bets against the Canadian dollar
- How the Canadian dollar's reserve status has surged
- BlackBerry 'fires' T-Mobile, U.S. carrier fires back
- Poor Alfred. He died 'interstate' and his banker's offering me millions
- Canadian dollar tops 91 cents as jobs report fuels optimism
The week in Streetwise (for subscribers)
- Kevin Carmichael: 'Too big to fail' alive and well in Canada: IMF
- Boyd Erman: One man's message: It's no time for banks to be complacent
- Tim Kiladze: BMO starts talking tough about technology
- Jacqueline Nelson: Banks benefit from oil resurgence
- Jeffrey Jones: Calgary banker who left Salman trying hand at investor relations
The week in ROB Insight (for subscribers)
- David Parkinson: Inflation comes to Canada (and that's good)
- Carl Mortished: Merkel's predecessors reject West's Ukraine strategy
- David Parkinson: Barrick pay practices need to better reflect performance
- Brian Milner: Stars are beginning to align for solar
- Brian Lee Crowley: Canadian health care: A failure of central planning, not funding