Economic Outlook 2019 looks at the potential recession trends for the year

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Photo by Hayley McGoldrick

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (LCERPA) held their annual Economic Outlook event for the year 2019, titled “Canada’s Competitiveness Challenge.”

Craig Alexander, the chief economist and partner at Deloitte, was the keynote speaker for this year and has been a speaker for the event many times in the past, including the 2014 and 2015 presentations.

Each presentation talks about the economic outlook for the following year from esteemed professionals in the industry, and Alexander’s points included a fear of a recession, though the trend shows one seems to happen every decade or so.

Economically, 2018 was one of the best years in Canada; although many researchers do see a decline in the economy for 2019, Alexander reassures that this is on trend for the economy and it will recover.

“In part, we do these events because the proceeds help to support our students in research jobs, but one of the main reasons we like to do these events is to bring together people from our community with the academics and with other economists who do research,” said Tammy Schirle, the director of LCERPA.

“In terms of what is going on in our economy, it brings together these conversations we don’t get to have everyday so it’s really nice to bring everyone together.”

LCERPA uses the ticket sales from the event to help hire student researchers for co-op and other endeavours, as well as to enhance and advance economics at Laurier as, out of the 6,000 students enrolled at Lazaridis, only a small percentage are economics students.

“That is where a lot of our students are heading so that’s the role that they play in the broader labour market and we hope that they do really well there.”

The luncheon included many students, faculty and members of the community that represented many different sectors of the local economy. Main sponsors of the event included the Chamber of Commerce, Communitech and TD Canada Trust, to name a few.

“From an event like this, the average student gets an idea of what’s going on in the economy and what they’re heading into in the next couple of years, which is probably good to be aware of. They get a sense of the bigger purpose — and what we’re teaching them,” Schirle said.

“We focus on trying to bring out a lot of our economics students, in part because they get to see that a lot of what we’re teaching them in our classes ends up being used in the industry — and with a lot of the groups that are here today they are interested in seeing those skills at work.”

The keynote discussed beneficial Canadian economic growth, the downfall of the US economy and threats to global growth that may cause consequences like a recession.

However, Alexander educated participants of the impact the economy has locally, though even in the case of a regressing economy, unemployment rates will still stay relatively low and are not something to be overly cautious of.

Another title sponsor of the event was Laurier Alumni. 

Many credible alumni have worked alongside Alexander as well as in many other economic positions after their graduation from Laurier.

“As Craig Alexander mentioned, we have a lot of our alumni working at the TD Bank and all these organizations that are watching how the economy is working and how policy plays a role in that,” Schirle said. 

“That is where a lot of our students are heading so that’s the role that they play in the broader labour market and we hope that they do really well there.”

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