Important Economic Indicators for Canada

Unemployment The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labor force.

Consumer Price Index This measures the average rate of increase in prices. When economists speak of inflation as an economic problem, they generally mean a persistent increase in the general price level over a period of time, resulting in a decline in a currency's purchasing power. Inflation is often measured as a percentage increase in the consumer price index (CPI). Canada's inflation policy, as set out by the federal government and the Bank of Canada, aims to keep inflation within a target range of 1 to 3 percent. If the rate of inflation is 10 percent a year, $100 worth of purchases last year will, on average, cost $110 this year. At the same inflation rate, those purchases will cost $121 next year, and so on.

Gross Domestic Product Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) is the total value of all goods and services produced within Canada during a given year. It is a measure of the income generated by production within Canada. GDP is also referred to as economic output. To avoid counting the same output more than once, GDP includes only final goods and services—not those that are used to make another product: GDP would not include the wheat used to make bread, but would include the bread itself.

Balance of Trade The balance of trade is a statement of a country's trade in goods (merchandise) and services. It covers trade in products such as manufactured goods, raw materials, and agricultural goods, as well as travel and transportation. The balance of trade is the difference between the value of the goods and services that a country exports and the value of the goods and services that it imports. If a country's exports exceed its imports, it has a trade surplus and the trade balance is said to be positive. If imports exceed exports, the country has a trade deficit and its trade balance is said to be negative.

Producer Price Index The producer price index (PPI) is a family of indexes that measures average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. The PPI tracks changes in prices for nearly every goods-producing industry in the domestic economy, including agriculture, electricity and natural gas, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing, and mining. Foreign exchange markets tend to focus on seasonally adjusted finished goods PPI and how the index has reacted on a month-on-month, quarter-on-quarter, half-year-on-half-year, and year-on-year basis.

Consumer Consumption This is a national accounts measure that reflects current expenditure by households, and producers of private nonprofit services to households. It includes purchases of durable as well as nondurable goods. However, it excludes expenditures by persons on the purchase of dwellings and expenditures of a capital nature by unincorporated enterprises.

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