Originally posted on Financial Post | Business:
Startling new study finds it may never have existed
The good news just keeps pouring in. Last week we learned courtesy of a special report from TD Economics that median income in Canada had caught up with median income in the U.S. Never mind that the measure of income used was a little screwy: market income plus cash received from the government — basically all the goodies — with no accounting for taxes paid to the government. Most Canadians seemed tickled by the result anyway, as we always are when outperforming the Americans.
Now this week, just in time for Christmas, comes news that Canada’s productivity, far from having flatlined over the last 30 years, has actually been growing at a perfectly respectable pace that’s even comparable to American rates. It turns out we’re not nearly as incompetent as our official productivity numbers have been suggesting we are. We’ve just been calculating them wrong. In fact, it’s tempting to say our incompetence is mainly in the productivity section of Statistics Canada. Tempting maybe, but not fair. It’s Christmas, after all, and, besides, calculating productivity is like doing Sudoku for a living and there’s plenty of room for disagreement over what the data are saying.