TORONTO, May 31, 2022 – New data released today from the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Recovery Tracker shows the Toronto region is approaching an economic turning point as it gets back on track towards growth. While most economic indicators are continuing to improve, rising business debt levels may act as a drag on the economy.
Throughout the pandemic, the Board of Trade acted as a magnifying glass into the Toronto region’s economic recovery. For seven months, our insights have provided businesses and decision-makers with timely information and data to advance the safe reopening and recovery of businesses across the region.
The Board of Trade’s last Recovery Tracker update reveals several encouraging trends:
- More than two years since the start of the pandemic, employment in the Innovation Corridor is well above February 2020 levels. The employment rate now exceeds the pre-pandemic rate, signaling a healthy recovery in the region.
- Despite seeing the most significant drop during the pandemic, spending on transportation and entertainment is approaching pre-pandemic levels. In the Metropolitan Centre, this fell as low as 95% below 2019 levels but is now only 25% lower than pre-pandemic spending.
- Data from Moneris shows that consumer spending in the region’s Business Districts is at or near its highest level since the start of the pandemic, although in-person spending in the downtown core remains 20% below 2019 levels.
“April 2022 marked a turning point for getting back on track towards the economic growth and competitiveness of our region,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “Moving forward, it’s time to apply the same urgency that we saw through the pandemic and ‘hit go’ on implementing solutions that increase our region’s productive capacity in the coming months and years ahead.”
Despite positive trends, the Recovery Tracker shows rising business debt levels that present a risk for future growth. In the City of Toronto, for example, the average balance of outstanding loans 90+ days past due has grown by 60 per cent over the past two years.
“While the region’s businesses have turned a corner in many respects, the data released today makes the case for continuing to watch for signs that business debt is acting as a drag on economic growth,” said Marcy Burchfield, Vice President of the Economic Blueprint Institute at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “Looking ahead, businesses and decision-makers must watch for key issues that impact economic growth in our region such as return-to-office trends, rising business costs, supply chain challenges, and labour shortages.”
About Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.
Andrew Perez, Media Relations Manager