There’s nothing like a crisis to spark some new ideas.
One of them is how we gather up economic information. Before the pandemic hit, we were satisfied with the run-of-the-mill data collection and reporting from StatsCan that generally tracks activity from six to eight weeks ago.
But, in a pandemic when everything changed literally overnight, we needed fresh information and weren’t too interested in waiting a couple months to get it. So the banks stepped up and began to share information they could gather from the activity in their customer accounts.
And while it was not as comprehensive as StatsCan’s data because it came from a single institution, the information is closer to real time. For example, ScotiaBank reported last week on information from August 13th. Transactions grew until mid-July before levelling off and then picking up again in August putting us ahead of last year on consumer spending.
The number of people making rent payments began to rise in July as prohibitions began to disappear while the number of pay checks being deposited is also going up as the employment market is again improving.