Philip CrossPhilip Cross finds a moderate increase in its Leading Economic Indicator for March 2017

OTTAWA, May 15, 2017 – The Canadian economy is, slowly but surely, rumbling back to life.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute composite leading index rose by 0.5 percent in March, a slight improvement on February’s revised gain of 0.3 percent but short of the 0.8 percent increase posted late in 2016.

The increase was broadly-based with eight of the ten components advancing.

The modest but widespread increase points to Canada’s economy continuing to pull out of its oil-induced slump in 2015 and much of 2016.

Growth was led by housing in Ontario, before the provincial government late in April took several measures to cool demand.

To learn more about the leading economic indicator, click here.

The leading index is designed to signal an upcoming turn in the business cycle, either from growth to recession or from recession to recovery, six months in advance, with an error rate of less than five percent. It does so by monitoring what businesses and households have actually committed to in terms of future spending and production in the most cyclically-sensitive sectors of the economy. It also incorporates global influences such as the direction of the US economy and the broad thrust of monetary policy.

The index is available on Bloomberg and is intended for journalists and analysts who follow the macro performance of the Canadian economy. Quarterly economic analyses by Cross, based on the results of the indicator, will appear on the MLI website.


Philip Cross is a Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. He previously served as the Chief Economic Analyst for Statistics Canada, part of a 36-year career with the agency.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

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