Blogs & Comment

A unique Canadian economic indicator plunges dramatically...

Economists have been warning that Canadians are going to have to be, a little less smug about the notion that we may have missed the brunt of the economic downturn now ravaging the United States. The latest economic data suggests that the slowdown is not only moving north, but that’s it moving north with a vengeance, and a recent story in the Windsor Star confirms this in a rather stark way.
According to this article, truck traffic on the Ambassador Bridge, the span connecting Windsor and Detroit that happens to carry about one-quarter of the trade between our two countries, has dropped a worrying 15.1%.
According to the Star, in December there were just 181,938 crossings, down 17.9% from December 2007. As the busiest bridge crossing in all of North America, we might consider bridge traffic a good proxy for the health of the economy, and so the fact that traffic has slowed that much suggests a real sag in the Canadian economy.
On an annual basis, there were 2,885,047 crossings in 2008, which sounds like a lot. But thats down from 3,398,745 in 2007, and represents a total drop of 15.1% year over year.
To put that in perspective, thats half a million truckloads fewer truckloads moving between our countries, or 1,407 fewer truckloads PER DAY.
That is a heck of a lot of economic activity not happening, and if anyone wondered if the Canadian economy was going to go into recession, that about says it. It certainly underlines the stat on todays Globe front page, which suggests the output gapa measure of the shortfall between what the economy could produce and what it is actually producinghas grown to 4% in Canada.