It’s not as if we needed more bad news about Canada’s economic prospects. But we got it last week with the latest data highlighting the country’s weak business investment.
Statistics Canada released its latest survey results on investment intentions for 2018. The survey, which took place from Sept. 2017 to Jan. 2018, finds that private-sector investment is slated to fall again this year—the fourth consecutive annual decline. This is yet another major sign—in addition to several anecdotes (see here and here)—that investors are turning their backs on Canada. It’s past time that our governments—both federal and provincial—acknowledge we have a problem.
The survey asked 25,000 private- and public-sector organizations about how much they intend to invest in non-residential capital assets such as buildings, machines and equipment. These types of investments are critical for long-term economic prosperity. When businesses invest in the latest technologies and production techniques, and expand their operations, it spurs economic growth and raises living standards for workers because it makes them more productive, which in turn allows them to command higher incomes.