Economic indicators help both businesses and governments determine where the economy is headed. Some of the indicators I have noticed in the news headlines are:
1) Employment change and unemployment rate: The national unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed workers in the total labour force. It is widely recognized as a key indicator of labour market performance. A closely watched economic indicator, the unemployment rate attracts a great deal of media attention, especially during recessions and tough economic times.
When workers become unemployed, their family loses wages, while the nation loses their contribution to the economy. Less money mad by individuals means less money to spend in the economy.
2) Consumer Price Index: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is an indicator of ...view middle of the document...
When inflation rises but a person's income does not rise their buying power decreases. They can no longer buy the same amount of goods they once were able to for the amount of money they are earning at their jobs.
3) Retail Sales: Statistics Canada releases a monthly report on retail sales activity across Canada, with changes shown on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The Monthly Retail Trade Survey collects sales volumes and the number of retail locations by province and territory from a sample of retailers. The categories included in the retail sales data are: food, drug and patent medicine stores, clothing, furniture, automotive, general merchandise stores, and retail stores. The retail sales data is an important indicator about the health of the overall economy.
Knowing the spending habits and trends of the consumers and understanding the strength of their buying power help businesses understand what quantity and quality of products the economy is in need of and are willing to buy.
4) Building Permits: The building permits survey conducted monthly by Statistics Canada collects data on the value of permits issued by Canadian municipalities for residential and non-residential buildings, as well as the number of residential dwellings authorized. Since building permit issuance is one of the very first steps in the process of construction, the aggregate building permits data are very useful as a leading indicator to assess the state of the construction industry.
The more money being spent on building materials and building permits show the strength of the economy. The more disposable income people have to spend on new building projects shows the strength of the buying power of the economy.
The 4 economic indicators briefly described above show the health of key aspects of the economy. Combined with the other key indicators they provide a comprehensive picture of the state of the Canadian economy.