Recession or not? Who to believe

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Are we in a recession and how do you know? Unless you are employed by the oil and gas industry either directly or indirectly, it’s hard to tell.

Canada’s economy shrank for the second straight quarter, the weakest six-month period for growth since the Great Recession, sending the country into a technical recession even as strong growth in June suggest the pain may be short lived.

recessionWhile two consecutive quarters of economic decline qualify as technical recession, both trade and employment numbers have shown positive signs this year, suggesting much of the downturn has been confined to investment in the energy sector.

“If this period is ultimately deemed to be a recession, it will be of the mildest variety and one of the strangest recessions ever,” wrote Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter in a research note. “Consumer spending was up in both quarters and so too was employment, far from a widespread softening in the economy.”

So, forget the political rhetoric on the campaign trail.

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