There’s something intuitively appealing about the notion of supporting local businesses. Some municipalities have procurement policies that require local governments to buy from local vendors, or at least give local businesses preferential treatment. It seems only logical to keep those dollars within the community.
Many cities even have advocacy groups that have gone to the trouble of printing their own physical complementary paper currencies as a way of encouraging local commerce. In Calgary, for example, a local grassroots club operates the Calgary Dollars program, which, according to its website, “keeps our money local, which supports local businesses and entrepreneurs, and gives them our money instead of large corporations.”
It’s a well-known truism about economic indicators that one month does not a trend make. That’s encouraging news for Canada’s job market. If the loss of 46,000 jobs in December were to mark a trend, the country would be in serious trouble.
Alberta – the economic powerhouse of the country – also shed nearly 12,000 jobs last month. But trends are built over several months, and December’s loss comes on the heels of five consecutive months of gains in Alberta.
Most of us were taught that price inflation is driven by a fundamental imbalance: too much money chasing too few goods.
In Canada, the data seem to support this theory. Real economic growth wallowed below 2 per cent for most of last year, and average weekly earnings rose a paltry 1.4 per cent in the year to October, 2013. Not surprisingly, consumer price inflation in Canada is benign. Over the past twelve months, the annual inflation rate has averaged a mere 1.3 per cent.
But Alberta appears to be defying economic gravity. Unlike the national economy, Alberta’s real GDP has been expanding at a pace above 3 per cent for the past few years.