The trend on retail or consumer spending in Saskatchewan is starting to tilt towards expansion.
This has been one of the chronic underperformers among the metrics we use to track the state of the economy. In broad terms, consumer spending has been flat or slightly down. It has been that way for a while.
We recently received the figures for May and they show marginal improvement in the province, reflecting what is happening at the national level where total spending by consumers rose two per cent.
One of the challenges with these numbers is trying to figure out whether we are spending or just buying the same stuff – only that it is more expensive. Gasoline is a pretty good example of that possibility – we’re buying the same amount, but it always costs more in the summer.
Nonetheless, Saskatchewan’s total spending is about more than one per cent from the same time a year ago. That’s tepid or flat, but it is positive so it may be an indication of some slight change in direction.