While the Recovery Tracker’s collection of indicators demonstrates that regional economy is on track, regional stakeholders must continue to assess and add to these indicators so that decision-makers and businesses can anticipate and act on key trends that will ultimately impact the trajectory of growth in the region.
Below are four key areas to watch as focus shifts away from recovery to getting back to growth:
A sustained shift to remote or hybrid work arrangements may be a legacy of the pandemic that shapes our new normal moving forward. While providing flexibility as well as time and cost savings for workers, this trend has substantial implications for transit and our employment areas – particularly the downtown core. Policymakers must consider this in their planning priorities, especially with an upcoming municipal election. This increasingly points to the need for place-based planning that the Board has been advocating for.
Business debt overhang and rising business costs
Elevated business debt could act as a drag on economic growth due to underinvestment from businesses focused on staying afloat, the misallocation of resources as businesses that would not be competitive prior to the pandemic continue to be supported by broad-based government support programs, and the loss of entrepreneurial capacity and spirit. Additionally, the rising cost of inputs, insurance, and transportation have been identified as impediments to growth by businesses in the region.
Supply chain challenges, and labour shortages
Supply chain challenges are expected to remain a medium-to-long-term obstacle as businesses continue to struggle to source inputs, products, and supplies for their operations. Businesses also anticipate facing workforce challenges going forward with many indicating they have a plan in place to address recruitment, retention, and training needs.
Fostering a productive and growth-oriented economy
Even prior to the pandemic the region was facing weak income growth. Going forward, policymakers and businesses must shift their attention to enhancing the productive capacity of the regional economy to enable growth and shared prosperity.