Why the lottery won’t give us the answer
I can’t get a single clue as to what will happen in the lottery.
It’s been a tough week for the Canadian economy, with the loonie plunging by 25 per cent against the dollar.
The news of the lottery’s imminent demise came as news that Canada’s most recent annual survey showed the unemployment rate had surpassed 20 per cent for the first time.
A few things are certain: It’s a big week for Canada’s economic outlook.
The number of people unemployed rose to 10.3 million in December, up from 8.5 million in November.
But there is also plenty of good news: the economy expanded at a modest 1.6 per cent pace in the 12 months to December.
The government also reported a 1.3 per cent decline in the trade deficit, which fell from a high of nearly $30 billion in 2013 to $24.3 billion in December.
It has been an especially hard year for the manufacturing sector, with exports to China, Mexico and Brazil down 7.7 per cent in November, the worst monthly decline in more than four years.
That trend will continue in the coming months, as the impact of the recent hurricanes and wildfires continues to mount.
The federal government has also cut spending on food, housing and other basic needs in recent months.
The unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent last month, a sharp increase from the 8.7.
That is also the highest since 2008, when it was 10 per cent.
But it’s the unemployment number that will have most people worried.
“I can’t imagine how many Canadians would be surprised to see the unemployment numbers jump if the lottery ends in the first week of January,” said Paul Calandra, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
“If you look at the job market, it’s in terrible shape.”
Calandra also believes the government has been too slow to respond to the economic downturn, which has seen more than 16,000 companies shutter or lay off more than 14,000 employees since the end of 2014.
The Bank of Canada has already slashed its key interest rate to 1.25 per cent from 1.5 per cent, and its rate on corporate bonds has fallen by half in two years.
“We need to get out of the crisis we’re in,” said Calandra.
“The federal government needs to be doing more.
The only thing we’ve seen is a slow response from the federal government.
We’ve been told, ‘You can’t have this crisis without this crisis.'”
The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson has a full rundown of the biggest stories from this week.
And stay up-to-date on the most important economic news.