News from The Daily
Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds)
In the third quarter of 2003, trusteed pension funds reported a positive cash flow for the second consecutive quarter, putting them well on the road to recovery after a period of losses.
Consumer Price Index
In February, consumers paid 0.7% more for the goods and services in the Consumer Price Index basket than they did in February 2003. This was a significant slowdown from the 1.2% rise registered in January.
Monthly Survey of Manufacturing
Although shipments edged down 0.2% to $45.5 billion in January, manufacturers saw some positive signals during the month. New orders rose for the second consecutive month, while inventories increased for the second time in the last nine months.
Labour Force Survey
For a second consecutive month, employment was little changed in February and the unemployment rate remained at 7.4%. This recent pause in employment growth, attributable to weakness in part-time work, follows strong increases in full-time employment over the previous five months.
After posting strong growth of 0.8% in the first quarter of 2003, business productivity deteriorated with a decline in the second, almost no increase in the third and then a further 0.3% decline in the fourth quarter. As a result, annual labour productivity growth for 2003 was only 0.1%, the smallest annual increase since the 0.2% drop in 1996.
Canadian international merchandise trade
Merchandise exports were weak in January, as sales abroad dropped 4.7% from December. Imports fell a sharper 5.0% and the resulting trade surplus fell marginally to $5.2 billion.
Technological change in the public sector
Canada's public sector is far ahead of the private sector in adopting new technology and training employees in support of technology change.
Interprovincial and international trade
Faced with weakening foreign markets, the provinces and territories have relied more and more on interprovincial exports for economic growth since 2000, a marked shift from the 1990s.
Canadian economic accounts
Real gross domestic product (GDP) advanced 1.7% in 2003, almost half the pace set in 2002, as exports fell for a third straight year. However, the economy ended the year with its best showing in six quarters, as exports rebounded and GDP advanced a solid 0.9%.
Payroll employment, earnings and hours
The average weekly earnings of payroll employees increased substantially in December to $699.19 (+$7.55). The new level is 1.6% higher than it was 12 months before.
The estimated number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in December was 559,890, down 1.4% from November.
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