17 January 2014

The Consumer Economy #nlpoli

It’s the sort of thing that leaps out at you. 

As SRBP mentioned on Thursday, in her book Shopping for votes veteran political reporter Susan Delacourt put it in stark terms. Consumer spending has accounted for 60 to 70 percent of American gross domestic product since 1980.  In Canada, it’s been more like 52 to 58 percent nationally. “So when politicians say that they are focused on the economy,” Delacourt wrote, “what they often mean is that they are focused on getting Canadians to buy stuff.”

Well, here’s a pretty chart to give you some local figures.  They come from Statistics Canada CANSIM 384-0038 showing gross domestic product based on expenditure, in constant 2007 dollars.

GDP and household

Top line is gross domestic product.

Bottom line is household expenditure.

The table starts in 1992 and finishes in 2012.  In 1992,  household expenditure was 48% of GDP.  In 2007 – around the 16 mark on the lower axis – it dipped to 38%.  By 2012, though household expenditure was 48% of GDP again.

Not quite the same percentages as with the Americans or the mainlanders but still significant. 

And still the same relative position after 20 years.