New Thunder Bay economic index report to help decision-makers
Thunder Bay Ventures launches new Economic Activity Index
Thunder Bay's economy isn't doing quite as well as the rest of Ontario, but it's not all doom and gloom.
Camillo Lento said that's the picture painted by the city's new Economic Activity Index — a publication unveiled today by Thunder Bay Ventures.
The accounting professor at Lakehead University helped design the index.
“When we look at the index, we see that Thunder Bay didn't experience as significant an economic crash during the credit crisis,” he said.
“However, we haven't really recovered, or went past our pre-credit crisis highs, whereas Ontario has. So, it's kind of a mixed bag.”
Lento says an index like this can be very useful in determining future economic development priorities.
Camillo Lento and Thunder Bay Ventures manager Royden Potvin created the index based on a Conference Board of Canada methodology.
“So when we look at retail sales we're looking at disposable income. When we look at employment insurance and total employment we're looking at the employment sector. When we look at the rent, [we're looking at] the affordability of homes from a renter's perspective. [When] we look at the resale market, we're looking at the housing market so we have three broad areas we're looking at."
Potvin said similar indicators are used in large cities like Toronto to help shape economic development.
“Rather than just saying 'Oh, a certain industry isn't important anymore', we can put some facts around that and that is quite important. It leads to better policy decisions and better outcomes.”
The decision to develop an Economic Activity Index grew from the recommendations of a Thunder Bay Ventures 2013 study, Poised for Development ... Ready For Growth.