Fixing Traffic in the South End

Fixing traffic in the Mapleview area will take time – but we’ve made a start.

The Economy: we have nothing to fear except fear itself

What to make of all the headlines:  debt crisis in Europe, US credit rating downgrade, stock markets plunging.  Here’s the thing about “markets”:  as well as being indicators of the state of the economy, they are increasingly collective expressions of emotion.  The herd mentality rules.  So when scary things happen, people run for the exits.

This is understandable and make no mistake, it’s not a good thing when this happens.  But the fears that can drive big market movements are often based on the prevailing sentiment of the day, and not so much the underlying fundamentals.  The biggest worry is the fear itself, because it becomes self-fulfilling.

There is clearly a big problem in Europe with governments living beyond their means.  And if we’ve ever wanted an indication of how damaging partisan politics is, just look at what has happened to the US government’s credit rating.  But it’s important to understand that even as markets fall, there have been few basic changes in the actual economic situation – what has changed is how the markets feel about the situation.

Here in Canada we can take some solace that we are in much better shape than most.  But we will not be insulated from what’s going on – turmoil in financial markets causes a crisis in confidence, which makes business slow down or stop their expansion plans, and that can hurt the pace of hiring.  And when the US economy suffers, Canadian businesses suffer too.  But despite all this, my sense is this is a storm that we will ride out, being more on the edges of it than in the midst of it.

Jobs data good news

Very strong labour market numbers today for Barrie, and pretty good numbers Canada wide. 

July’s data from the Federal government shows that 2,500 more people in the Barrie area have jobs than in June, bringing the total increase in employment to 10,500 in greater Barrie since May 2010.

While the headline employment number in Canada was little changed, the unemployment rate dropped, and the underlying numbers are very strong – private sector employment increased by almost 100,000 jobs, but this was offset by declines in public sector employment, as governments start to retrench to deal with large deficits.  US jobs data was released today as well, and they are better than expected.  Click here for the Canadian report. 

Hopefully, this will calm some of the fears that caused such turmoil on stock markets yesterday.  And it shows our area continues to show strong underlying economic growth.