Canada no longer leading the G7 in economic growth
Stephen Harper speaks during a plenary session at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 26, 2012. (AP /Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)
Published Monday, February 6, 2012 2:38PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:22AM EDT
OTTAWA - It's going to get harder for Prime Minister Harper and his ministers to keep boasting that Canada is No. 1 among economic rivals.
As the year unfolds, analysts say it will become increasingly apparent that Canada no longer leads the G7 in economic growth and job creation.
And as unlikely as it seems, it's the United States -- troubled as that country remains -- that's likely to relegate Canada to second place, if not third behind Germany.
The switch has largely already occurred, although some of the numbers are just catching up to the reality.
Last week's jobs number was the most graphic example. The score was 2,300 jobs added in Canada in January versus 243,000 in the U.S. Even allowing for population differences, that's 10 times more jobs created in relative terms.
The trend on the jobs front has been going on for some time. Despite all the bad news emanating from south of the border, employment has been rising in the U.S. at twice the rate of Canada for a year.
And U.S. economic growth as a whole is slated to outpace Canada's this year for the first time since 2006.
CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says that doesn't mean the U.S. economy is now outperforming Canada's. Part of the reason it is growing faster now is that it the hole it dug during the recession was so much deeper.
But any way it is calculated, the U.S. is starting to narrow the economic gap with Canada.