My ritual every morning is to load up on some high octane coffee and surf the web for economic news. I’ve conditioned myself to expect some negative articles about the mortgage industry, and thanks to Canada’s major newspaper I’m rarely disappointed. Our industry has taken so many body blows that we’re qualified to perform for the WWE. Go ahead, suplex me off the top ropes. It can’t be any worse than the predictions of doom and gloom and specifically that the housing industry is the greatest threat to Canada since confederation. Well, imagine my shock when I read the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business last Friday. The headline bellowed, “Labour market shakes off winter blues. Economy creates 82,300 jobs in March, its best month since recession, as unemployment rate falls to 7.2 per cent”. I double checked, it really was The Globe.
To be clear there wasn’t a single sentence in the article about the importance of the housing and mortgage sector, and the millions of direct and indirect jobs the housing and mortgage sector creates. Let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story. At least we’re not being blamed for something. Maybe I’m becoming cynical but one day I expect to read that global warming, Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the Leafs failure to make the play-off is a result of consumer debt levels in Canada, as well as over inflated home values. So it’s big news when we can get through a day without being held accountable for… well… just about anything that goes wrong with the economy.
There was plenty of good news of Friday. On the employment front some 82,300 jobs were created last month. The overall unemployment rate fell to 7.2 per cent. The pace of hiring is clearly picking up and corporate Canada is far more optimistic about our recovery, as well for our neighbours South of the boarder and in Europe. You know the news is good when the manufacturing sector in Ontario is showing signs of growth. And you we’re skeptical about the Easter Bunny. What’s really refreshing about our economic growth is who’s leading the way. Not the usual suspects. All hail the new king, Saskatchewan! You want to live and experience an economic boom…move to Regina. The unemployment rate there is 3.9 per cent. Last year Regina’s GDP growth was 6.1 per cent. The average price of a bungalow is $315,000. For prosperity go west young man, just not all the way west. This is a great success story. Good people deserve good fortune.
So we should all bask in the glow of this good news for as long as it lasts. I see the markets have gone into the tank since Friday because of poor job growth numbers in the US. It seems that economists were expecting much better job numbers in the U.S.; economists have been having a tough go of it recently. Our actual job growth numbers came in eight times greater than what economists were calling for. I wonder if this is the same group of economists who called on the Finance Department to change the mortgage rules because the sky was falling. Here’s a suggestion for them; they should set aside their data and cognitive skills and use something a little more reliable, like tarot cards.
Until next time.