Statistics Canada recently released data on business conditions for 15 large Canadian cities for the last week in March. So, I thought I’d take a look at how Calgary and Edmonton fared.
The Real-time Local Business Conditions Index is an experimental statistic that measures business activity in real time during the pandemic and beyond.
The index measures 3 main areas:
- Economic size of a business district at the local level
- Operating conditions of businesses in a given area
- Level of business activity in the area using road traffic data
The index starts in August 2020 and gives every city an index of 100. Their index then either increases or decreases relative to that number.
If a city’s number drops below 100, then they’re doing worse economically than they were in August 2020, during the start of the second wave of the pandemic.
Conversely, if it is above 100, then they’re doing better economically than they were a year and a half ago.
Unsurprisingly, all 15 cities in the list were doing better economically at the end of last month than they were during the first summer of the pandemic.
Here’s how each of them fared last month:
As you can see, Edmonton is in 3rd place and Calgary is in 6th place, relative to where they were in August 2020.
Now, keep in mind that this is based on how much they’ve improved since the start of the pandemic-caused recession. Some cities might have improved more last year than they are right now, and vice versa.
So, let’s look at how much each city has changed based on various baselines.
For example, here’s how each city has changed from just the week before:
In this case, both Edmonton and Calgary performed worse, with the former dropping one spot (4th), and Calgary dropping three (9th).
Calgary was even worse when looking at performance over the last month, dropping to 4th from last place.
However, if we look at performance since May 2021, Calgary jumps up again.
Here we see that Edmonton is still basically in the same spot and Calgary is back up to the top 5.
Now, let’s look at averages. First, the weekly average for March 2022.
Edmonton is still in third place, but Calgary is in 6th place.
Here’s the difference between the weekly average in March 2022 and March 2021.
Again, the two cities are in third and fourth place.
Now, the average for the first quarter of 2022:
Edmonton was still in the same spot, but Calgary is down again at 9th place.
And the difference between the weekly average for the first quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2021.
Finally, here’s the weekly average for all of 2021.
Both cities dropped a spot, Edmonton down to 4th place and Calgary down to 10th.