Revised data due to be published by Statistics Canada Friday will challenge the fossil narrative that a booming oil and gas industry is vital to national prosperity, Bloomberg News writes, based on a review of numbers released online by the federal agency.
The figures “show that between 2014 and 2016, the nation’s economy generated C$24 billion more output in nominal terms than first estimated,” the U.S. news agency reports. “In real terms—which adjust the numbers for inflation and are the more conventional marker of economic activity—the update shows Canada’s growth rate over the three-year period averaged 1.8%, compared with a previous estimate of 1.7%.”
Some 60,000 people lost their jobs in fossil extraction after the benchmark price of crude oil crashed from more than US$100 a barrel to below $30 over a period of about 16 months in 2014 and 2015. Producers put planned expansions on hold, with effects that rippled out into the wider economy.
However, “the hit to the economy from the oil price shock was not as severe as initially estimated,” conceded Philip Cross of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
Further contesting the picture of Canada as a petroleum-dependent economy, Bloomberg writes, the new figures “reveal an economy with a better mix of economic activity,” in which positive changes “were driven by greater-than-expected business investment, mainly construction-related.”