The Government of Canada announced that GNP grew by 5% in the 4th Quarter of 2009. That's good news. The problem is that we found out about it in March of 2010! Compounding the problem is that the Government will refine or restate this number for the next several months. Then you can compound the problem further because this figure represents only the 'recorded' economy. What about the 'unreported' economy? You know all those people who work for cash and conveniently forget to report their sales - think of contractors, small store owners, and a host of other businesses. When times are tough, does the 'unreported' economy' grow faster than the 'reported'? With our tax levels and the pending HST, it is estimated that this market could be as big as 15%. In Italy, some estimate the unreported market at 30%!
So what to do? In my business, I talk to other small business owners - car dealers, stores, manufacturing, etc. How are sales? Is your market up or is it all due to increasing market share? People are alwasy willing to share. You can even ask people what they think of the job market. When we advertise for part time or full time staff, the response numbers and the quality of responses will tell you whether a lot of people are looking or whether people have a lot of choice and don't find your job offer enticing enough to apply.
In real estate just ask people. Everyone knows an agent. Ask how they are doing and how busy is their brokerage. Talk to people who are listing their property or who are thinking about buying and have been testing the market. Or you can read blogs and search the Internet. The answers there tend to be months ahead of any report that a Government Agency can produce. We reported to our clients and followers that the real estate market had bottomed in February and turned up at the beginning of March. We reported that at the start of April. It was amazing, Generation X andr Y were right on top of this change. The baby boomers did not figure it out until the summer time when old fashion media and Government reports started rolling in !! Unfortunately, they were just 3-4 months late to the party.