OTTAWA – Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s election call on Aug. 2, the governing Conservatives have been buffeted by good news-bad news economic numbers. Here’s a list:
Good news — Statistics Canada reported June manufacturing sales rose 1.2 per cent to $50.8 billion, the second consecutive monthly gain.
Bad news — Year-to-date manufacturing sales were down 1.5 per cent from the same period in 2014.
Bad news — Statistics Canada reported 531,700 people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in June, some 20,300 more than in June 2014 and up 5,200 from the previous month.
Good news — Statistics Canada reported continued low inflation in July, with the Consumer Price Index up 1.3 per cent over the previous 12 months.
Bad news — Low energy prices tempered inflation, but July food prices were up 3.2 per cent following a 3.4 per cent increase in June.
Good news — Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s current account deficit narrowed by $0.7 billion in the second quarter to $17.4 billion.
Bad news — The quarterly trade surplus with the U.S. expanded by $2.5 billion, but Canada’s trade deficit with all other countries widened by $2.2 billion to reach a record $15.7 billion.
Good news — Statistics Canada released Gross Domestic Product numbers that showed GDP increased in June by 0.5 per cent.
Bad news — The GDP numbers for the second quarter of 2015 showed a second consecutive quarter of shrinking GDP, the technical definition of a recession.
Good news — Statistics Canada released employment numbers for August which showed an increase of 12,000 jobs.
Bad news — The August unemployment rate rose to 7.0 per cent from 6.8 per cent due to more people looking for work.
Good news — Finance Canada released the Annual Financial Report which showed a final budgetary surplus of $1.9 billion for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Bad news — The true surplus figures match almost exactly the April 28 surplus projection by the parliamentary budget office, which also forecast a small deficit for the current year.