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June 18, 2021

Debt up, income flat in Canada, reports say

It seems we link to this report every week, but the Bank of Canada’s proclamation the recession officially ended three years ago is topical once again.

According to the bank, the downturn was to be declared dead in July of 2009, and we all hoped a shift was to follow: we’d get our jobs back, save our homes and cars, spend more and the economy would heal itself.

But then, for every positive story to come out of post-recession headlines, it sure does appear there have been two to bring us back down.

Like this pair. Three years after the economy was said to have righted itself, Canadian household debt has hit a record high, while median household income has stopped growing altogether.

The two new reports come courtesy of Statistics Canada, which has the ability to both lift and slam a nation at its whim.

*Bing: How to calculate your net worth

As of the end of 2012’s first quarter, the ratio of debt to personal disposable income in Canada rose to 152 per cent, up from 150.6 per cent at the end of 2011. That’s a new national record.

Bad enough, but debt and income aren’t rising in uniform.

By another Stats Canada report, median after-tax income for families of two or more clocked in at $65,500 in 2010, largely unchanged from a year earlier.

Median income, as your grade three math memory likely serves, might be a peculiar measure of national earnings, but many economists feel it’s the best gauge.

Since median is literally the middle of the income pack, it’s generally thought to be a more accurate indication of a country’s earnings, since it’s not an average figure and not prone to outlier income levels, either high or low on the national scale.

Has your income stayed flat over the previous few years, a time when many Canadian companies have had to impose wage freezes even considering inflation?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...