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October 27, 2017 7:33 pm

Business Barometer Climbs

Saturday, December 31, 2016 @ 8:24 AM

Prince George, B.C.  – The Canadian federation of Independent Business says 2016 is ending on a more optimistic note for small business owners.

CFIB’s Business Barometer climbed to 60.7 in December. That’s up 1.3  from  last month,  and the best reading the barometer  has shown since March of 2015.  On a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.

The index  usually registers between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

British Columbia business owners are the most optimistic, with an index level of 69.5, followed by those in Manitoba (66.7), Quebec (65.8) and Nova Scotia (64.9). Only half a step behind are business owners in Ontario (64.2), Prince Edward Island (63.2) and New Brunswick (60.4). Optimism in Alberta (43.4), Saskatchewan (54.0) and Newfoundland & Labrador (47.7) continues to lag, but improvements there are still notable over November results.

The CFIB says there are some other positive signs from the December survey:

41% of owners  say their businesses are in  good shape.

54% say they expect to  spend on capital goods in the next few months.

But the news on the  jobs front is not as positive with  only 13%  saying they expect to hire full time workers  over the  next few months,  and  16%  who indicated they  expect they will  reduce their work force.



Business barometer!?!? Who invented that term?

    Shills are nothing… if not creative.

This is what I call darn good news.

    The fact that only 41% say their businesses are in good shape is good news?

    Wow!! Seems that business people must be a pessimistic lot, or at least those who responded think that way.

    There is no indication of what one determines to be in “good shape” as opposed to “bad shape”.

    Is “bad shape” for instance “if business does not improve over the next 6 months, we will have to downsize, close shop and sell assets, or declare bankruptcy.”

      so lets throw wild numbers around, of those surveyed 41% say their business is in good shape. Do you assume that means that 59% think their business is in bad shape? Nope. How about 10% think their business is in GREAT shape, 41% think their business is in GOOD shape, 30% think their business is in OK shape? That would mean that only 19% think their business is on POOR shape?

      Pretty hard to comment on the numbers when you only know 1 item of the equation and the rest is limited only by imagination.

      It is good news when it is the best in Canada, just think this spring you can change all that and make us 10th again

      2016 was a bad year for everyone in Canada by the article a few days ago. Wonder what changed from 2015? Oh right, sunny days

54% plan to spend on Capital Goods. 16% plan to reduce their workforce. Only 13% expect to hire full time workers.

Time we shifted focus from ‘jobs’ as being the only source of distributing most people’s incomes and found an alternate way of doing that.

Capital Goods are “things to make things with.” They’re not ‘consumed’ by the public, but it’s the public that ultimately has to pay for them, as well as the Consumer Goods they’ve enabled.

How can the public do this if virtually ALL the money distributed in the production of Capital Goods is taken back in the prices of Consumer Goods first?

Look at one example. Site C is a Capital Good. It pays out a lot of money in the eight years or so it’ll take to build it BEFORE it’s sold one kilowatt of electric power.

That money will, in the interim, raise the prices of ALL consumer goods on the market throughout that period. It will virtually ALL be taken back in the prices of THOSE goods beforehand.

Now the dam comes online. Where’s the money to buy the electricity it generates and pay for its construction? It’s gone. The electric bills will rise to try to recover the costs incurred. But the only way they can do that is if there’s ANOTHER project of similar scale being built and distributing incomes, the cost of which are again pushed into the future. This can’t help but be inflationary. Your pay rises, but the prices of what is has to buy rise ever faster, and you sink deeper and deeper into debt that can’t, in its totality, ever be repaid.

    so explain to me why “its gone” as in the money you talk about in your last paragraph? Are we running out of money, are they discontinuing the use of it? Are we banning the use of electricity?

    You forget one real simple thing, the short term economic benefits of the construction are fairly localized, whereas the market to sell the electricity is vast.

    If I understand your theory correct you say once the economic stimulus of the construction is done then there is no money to buy the electricity? If that is your basis it is naive to the extreme.

    Site C is not being built to supply power to the Peace region, it is built to supply power to anybody in North America who wants to buy it.

      Stompin Tom:-“so explain to me why “its gone” as in the money you talk about in your last paragraph? Are we running out of money, are they discontinuing the use of it? Are we banning the use of electricity?”
      Tom, all ‘money’ is, or is based on, ‘credit’. It originates as a creation of the banking system, “out of nothing”, as the saying goes.

      It comes “out of nothing” because it is, by nature, ‘contractual’, and the terms of the contract that created it didn’t exist before made and agreed to by banker and borrower.

      That ‘credit’ in the hands of a business or government borrower becomes the COSTS of whatever Capital project is being undertaken.

      In the example I used, Site C.

      What has been created in COSTS will eventually be recovered in PRICES, from which the loan will be repaid, and that ‘money’ cancelled out of existence.

      During the time that money is in existence it will circulate in the economy, transferring various goods and services. BUT it will only ‘liquidate’ one set of Costs, those equal to itself.

      If that money is taken back in rising prices (which it will be), it will return to the banks that created it at a faster RATE than the COSTS which it has created have been liquidated. Ergo, THOSE costs will remain, ‘valued in money’, but the actual ‘money’ in respect of them will no longer exist.

      It can only then come into existence by creating ANOTHER loan, of which THAT sum of money will again be the ‘Costs’ ofr some other project, and cause this whole process to repeat. This is inflationary. The Prices we’re forced to pay are higher as our actual efficiency in providing goods and services, in this case electric power, increase, when they really should be decreasing.

      socred, your are simply ignoring the fact that Site C creates revenue from sources outside those who recouped from the build. Your using a whole bunch of words to write nothing. After Site C is built is it a revenue producing stream for 100 plus years. You go on and on about inflation, but its a relative term. Everything is affected by inflation. If we dont have inflation we dont have growth.

      Simple fact, the mirco inflation your go on about is very localized, the growth is macro. It comes from a VERY large potential base.

      Even in your theories you must realize that you must have inflation in order to have growth, they are in connected.

      Stompin, you’re trying to solve a very real problem by expanding its boundaries. ALL our current crop of politicians have tried to do the exact same thing, and while they may defer the inevitable they can’t avoid it. It really doesn’t matter how much in the way of ‘export credits’ we can bring in from the sale of Site C power outside of BC, by the time we receive that money ~ if we ever do, and that’s a pretty big ‘if’ ~ the damage will already have been done. Rising costs will bring on rising prices, and a call for incomes to rise to meet them. That in turn pushes up costs again, and prices rise still further. Yes, we do get growth. There are ‘jobs’ aplenty, for awhile, but the incomes they pay continually fall in their purchasing power even as the dollar amounts they’re paid in continue to rise. We are denied the full benefits of this ‘growth’. But we’re not going to be able to escape paying for the detriments. And they’ll be legion.

    I do not think that your theories have much value if you leave out the impact of other provinces and other countries as if this province exists in total isolation. The money that is earned in B.C. during site C construction is spread far and wide, including to other countries, whose goods and services we purchase.

      if we lived by socreds fear theories we would never build another thing in our lives. His theory that growth creates inflation which is bad is actually the complete opposite of what any economist will tell you.

      Growth causes inflation which means strong economy
      Recessions cause deflation which mean recessions and depressions.

      You can expand or contract the basic principles as much as you want, Prince George, but that doesn’t change them. If it did, the European Union would’ve been all that EVERY one of its members expected it to be when they joined it. Or any other trading bloc, for that matter. The simple fact is, the current financial system is NOT, as it stands now, FULLY ‘self-liquidating’. ALL ‘costs’ can’t be FULLY recovered in ‘prices’ when current ‘incomes’ which are only a PART, and an ever declining PART, of the totality of those ‘costs’, are falling in ratio to them.

      Stompin Tom:-“if we lived by socreds fear theories we would never build another thing in our lives. His theory that growth creates inflation which is bad is actually the complete opposite of what any economist will tell you.
      What happened to the WAC Bennett government in 1972, and why? In case you’ve forgotten, they were defeated. After 20 years as the most successful government this Province had ever had, or has had since. And the primary reason why that came about was their inability to reign in INFLATION. We had tremendous ‘growth’ in BC all through the 1960’s. There were recessions, but they didn’t last too long here, and they didn’t stop the march of progress to any great degree. But by 1972 the mega-projects were winding down, and at the same time all the costs they’d incurred were still coming forward into prices. Prices that couldn’t be met from incomes that could never rise fully relative to them WITHOUT STILL FURTHER MEGA-PROJECTS. For which a demand, at that time, could never have been sustained. Nor the necessary funding raised. Will history repeat itself? I’m not a fan of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals. But electing the NDP again wouldn’t be any improvement.

      Stomp, the Socreds of many decades acted decisively and without fear! Times have changed a lot, haven’t they?

      Now it takes a few of decades of procrastination and hurdles of all kinds to overcome in order to be able to proceed with a mega project.

      When it is done the majority of the public will say that it should have been done many years ago.

    So how did we afford the electricity from past hydro electric projects? Are you saying there was no economic good from past projects?

    Tell me how decades back I could afford a new truck at 8 grand and my latest truck at 33 grand I could still afford? Yes inflated price but my income increased at the same ratio.

      No, seamutt. The past hydro electric projects were needed and provided us with great benefits.

      But, as another saying goes, “that was then, and this is now.”

      ‘Then’ we had a treasure trove of natural resources to be developed, and so far as our forest resources were concerned, we were losing more timber to natural mortality annually than to harvest. A dead loss to us all.

      We also had a seller’s market for most of those resources. Very little international competition into the markets we hoped to sell.

      ‘Now’ that’s no longer the case. We’re more often now ‘price takers’ rather than ‘price makers’. And competing simply by trying to dump surpluses into glutted markets is simply a stupid race to the bottom.

      I’m not criticising Site C, per se. There may well indeed be future benefits from building it now, too. But one thing is certain. The inflation it will cause is not going to really be beneficial to anyone. Especially, if history is any guide, to the government that built it.

      Seamutt:=”Tell me how decades back I could afford a new truck at 8 grand and my latest truck at 33 grand I could still afford? Yes inflated price but my income increased at the same ratio.”
      Well, decades back I bought 2 acres of land with a house on it for $ 3,500 total price. Wages then were, for me, $ 2.70 an hour. When that mill shut down decades later wages there were about 10 times that amount, but the price of that property, sans house and other improvements, was a helluva lot more than $35,000!

      Seamutt: “How did we afford the electricity from past hydro projects ?”

      Great question! Of course there was and still is a continuing benefit! I remember W.A.C. Bennett building and paving our roads at a breakneck pace when oil was a couple of bucks a barrel. He connected communities although the traffic volume was not that much yet. Investing in the future is always a good idea!

And then we wonder why so many now have to use Food Banks, are homeless, and have children living in poverty. And their numbers, despite raises in the minimum and all other wages, continually increase.

The day of the ‘job’ being the sole, or even main, source of anyone’s income is rapidly coming to an end. No matter how any displaced from employment are pushed back into the workforce, under the present financial conventions we’re destined to have increasing poverty in the midst of a growing physical plenty.

The sooner we recognise this FACT and find an alternate means of augmenting and/or replacing employment as the only means of receiving an income the better off all of us are going to be. Left as it is, the potential productivity of our economy will never be able to be fully realised, and those left working will pay, and pay, and pay again for things that should only have to be paid for once.

    Did you ever hit the nail on head.

      Sorry that should be “on the head”

      Thanks, Retired02.

    This is a very interesting subject to raise and I think there is allot of merit in discussing it. Curious what people think about the “guaranteed annual income” concept that some people have advanced.

    From what I gather (fully admit I haven’t looked into it in great detail) it advocates eliminating various social assistance programs and proving everyone with a basic level of “guaranteed” annual income support. Obviously it would have to be funded somehow, but perhaps it could be a way to ensure that people have a base level of income without having to rely on a “job”, at least not a job in how we currently think of them.

    It would be a pretty radical departure from what we have now, but I think we should be having some sort of discussion on this subject. It’s pretty obvious that the interplay we have now with respect to jobs, income, debt loads and standards of living, has changed considerably from what was the reality just a few decades ago.

      The key to a “guaranteed annual income” is in how it would be funded. Most of those advocating it want to fund it from taxation, which will doom an otherwise excellent idea to failure. They fail to understand that there is NOT, at present, a proper nexus between total prices ‘valued in money’, and the total amount of ‘money’ in existence and in the hands of the public. This is a difficult subject to try to explain, and made all the more so by the many erroneous, pre-conceived notions on the nature of money that currently exist. Fundamentally, to take money itself out of the equation, we ‘produce’ to ‘consume’. NOT to ‘make money’, which is made by an entirely different process, NOR to ‘provide jobs’. But until people can realise this the guaranteed annual income isn’t really going to go too far.

      So base pay, something like a communist collective? Look at how well those worked out.

      Seamutt:-“So base pay, something like a communist collective? Look at how well those worked out.”
      Didn’t work worth a damn. But the reasons why are a lot more complex. Ask yourself this. Why do so many people who are, by anyone’s account, ‘rich’, continue to work? And many of them work very hard indeed, if you count the hours they put into their businesses.

      Ever been an employer, Seamutt? If you have been, or even if you haven’t, who would you want to hire? Someone who takes an interest in the job you’re giving him and in getting it done efficiently ~ someone who realises clearly that unless you’re getting yours it won’t be very long before he’s not getting his, cause you’re not a charity ~, or someone who has no interest in the job whatsoever other than it’s something he’s forced to do in order to get a paycheque? Who are you most likely to get the most production out of? Who are you not going to regret paying more wages to because he’s not just costing you money but making you some?

      People have a notion that a ‘guaranteed annual income’ would make EVERYONE receiving it ‘lazy’. There is already considerable evidence it wouldn’t. Some, sure, but in all likelihood they’re already that way, and maybe they’d be better out of the workplace than still in it. And so would everyone who has to work with them, or employ them. We’re long past the point where we NEED everyone as a ‘producer’. What we need today are more ‘consumers’. And they can’t be that if they’ve never received the means to consume ~ an income.

      As it’s often been said, there are only two things in life that are ‘guaranteed’. Death, and taxes. We all die. No one yet has found a way to cheat the Grim Reaper. And so long as necessary private goods and services are to be acquired on public account they have to be paid for by some form of taxation. The methods we use to tax may stand improvement, and in some instances are even counter productive, but that’s another issue. The point being is that the word “guaranteed” infers that any income unearned and distributed by some agency of government is going to be fixed in amount. And this is likely to be a definite drawback to the idea. It would be far better to base an ‘unearned’ income, which we are eventually going to HAVE TO pay, if we want to continue to enjoy the freedoms of choice we currently do, on the ratio between total national production versus total national consumption over any chose one and the same fiscal period. Thus if our productivity increased, our unearned incomes would, too. And if we ALL got lazy, we’d get nothing.

      I agree that any form of income like what we are discussing would have to be linked to national productivity, net output or something like that. It would have to be in order to be sustainable. In that sense, maybe we shouldn’t think of it as a guaranteed income, but rather, as a dividend payment back to us, the shareholders of the country.

      Not sure it matters all that much if you are a lawyer, a plumber, a social worker, an artist, or someone who volunteers time at shelters to help those who are less fortunate. On some level, we all contribute to the overall good of the country, and perhaps we should all share a little bit, at least at a base level, in the fortunes that we accumulate as a nation as a result of that.

      Something has to give IMHO. 100 years ago everyone could get jobs making stuff that we consumed. In many ways, it was a closed economy and an inefficient one at that. Now, we don’t make the bulk of the stuff we consume and even the stuff we do make, we can do with a fraction of the labour that it used to take. This due to automation and technological advances. We know this trend isn’t going to reverse. In fact, we know it’s only going to expand.

      So, if we’ve stopped producing stuff here and we are reducing our labour force because we can (makes perfect sense to do so), how do we ensure that people can still live fruitful lives? I remember in college the popular line was always something like “the jobs lost to robots will be replaced be people who will design and fix the robots”. Sure, some of that is true, but it’s nowhere near a direct one for one replacement. Same goes for knowledge workers. Yes, our new economy requires more of that, but in the same volumes as what blue collar workers used to be? I have a hard time seeing that.

      Perhaps the demographic bubble of the baby boomers will help offset some of that challenge, but I do think we need to figure out how our shift to a technology based economy is going to impact what we’ve come to expect as far as our societal norms. I don’t think we’ve even begun to start the discussion.

      You’ve got it, NMG. The discussion of this hasn’t really started in earnest yet, but it needs to. Done correctly, this is an area in which Canada could indeed lead the world in inducing a genuine prosperity that others would quickly follow in emulating.

Where is the barometer for hotel chains like the Marriott? Wonder what they think about their business potential in PG once it opens with money borrowed from the taxpayers of this region?

    Oh, I forgot, I wonder how the City thinks about their investment in a private business. Will it be successful as a “cornerstone” of downtown?

    Remember, the cornerstone in buildings is a commemorative decoration.

    Perhaps this one will be inscripted with the words, “paid for with the blood of PG taxpayers”.

The disconnect between small business owners and their customers buying mood could not be greater!

“We are less than a week away from Christmas, but British Columbians are feeling apprehensive about opening up their wallets in what is normally the busiest shopping season of the year.”

“B.C. shed a significant number of full-time jobs last month, which probably led to more survey respondents reporting worsening household financial conditions in December,” the board said in a news release.

ht tps://www.biv.com/article/2016/12/consumer-confidence-down-bc-holiday-season/

This 250news article should be titled; Business Barometer climbs as consumer confidence tanks.

    Online shopping has been increasing every year! It is now a major component of business. We do not know exactly how many people opened up their credit card wallets in the comfort of their home.

    BTW, Sears is on the brink in the USA, counting annual losses of hundreds of millions annually. 2017 will be a critical year for some of the big players, the ones that have big outlets in shopping malls.

      Online shopping will bring about a great number of changes in the way we shop. It has already, and it’s just in its infancy. Some industries will benefit mightily because of it. Others will continue to incur losses and pass completely into history. The costs of shipping a specific product from a centralised distribution centre, packaged and delivered, for the most part, by workers who have a direct productive purpose cannot help but be cheaper than all the costs involved in stocking the same selection of product in a plethora of locations, and having a great deal of non-productive hours on the clock with similarly paid employees, can’t be denied.

If we all lived by socreds theories the world would have exploded about 30 years ago.

Anybody who believes no economic growth is better than having economic growth is a fool.

I ask one thing socred, who signs your paycheck?

    I sign my own paycheque, Stompin. Have done for the last 48 years. I’m in no way against ‘economic growth’. Our population is growing, and we have to service its needs. That’s axiomatic. What I am against is paying for this growth more than once. And that’s what we’re being prepped to do again with Site C, or with any other mega-project. Surely we should have learned from what happened in the past? Do we have to go through another round of failed ‘cures’ that cost us dearly and made the whole situation worse, as we did back in the early 1970’s when we elected the NDP?

      We need more mega projects, like fourlaning highways #16 and #97 in every direction, just to name one!

      We need to build affordable homes for the homeless – it is a shame that a country like Canada has ANY homeless people while we are spending huge amounts of money sending troops and equipment to other continents in the attempt to solve problems which are virtually beyond solving!

      Everybody have a Happy New Year which hopefully will bring some real change!

      Very concise Socredible . I too have learnt from the past . Live well and be happy , everyone .

      Absolutely, Prince George. But why do them in such a way that we have to pay for them MORE than once? This is what we’re doing when we (purposefully?)do these things in a way that increases consumer prices. We don’t have to do it that way. No one is ever really advantaged by having to pay MORE for what they need or desire. As we add to our capacity to do more things and do them better, prices to consumers should be coming DOWN, not going UP. Right now the reverse is what attends. When we do get a price break through improvement of process, it’s more often than not negated in higher exactions in taxes to keep those the improvements have displaced. Which they still never are able to do. Why not look at doing it differently? The path we’re currently on will lead us straight into another war, just as it’s done twice last century on a major basis, and numerous other times on minor ones.

Generation from Site C is less than generation from Burrard Thermal. We have closed the natural gas plant and do need something to replace it.

If I replace my car with a new one and the price to me monthly goes up am I paying for it more than once? I do get calls and emails from dealers telling me that if I do upgrade my car I my payment will go down, I guess this is what you are talking about and is to my advantage? There is always a catch as in the long run it will cost me more but it looks good in the short haul

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