Firm Creation, a Poloz Favorite, Posts Best Gain Since 2008

Canada’s business population rose at the fastest pace in eight years, good news for central bank Governor Stephen Poloz who tracks the measure as a key indicator of the recovery from an oil shock.

The number of companies with employees rose 2 percent to 1.13 million in the first quarter from a year ago, Statistics Canada said Wednesday from Ottawa. That’s the fastest since 2008, predating the country’s last recession.

Poloz has said the economy is in the middle of a multi-year adjustment to a collapse in crude oil prices, and the recovery will be led by companies outside that industry. Poloz, former head of Canada’s export finance agency, has cited the population of companies as something he’s tracking since moving to the central bank in 2013 and mentioned this type of growth at his last public speech in the Yukon on June 15.

“Growth doesn’t come out of thin air really, it comes from a new company or a young company that creates it, and it’s also where the new productivity and the new jobs come from, so that process will be very important to us over the next two years,” Poloz said while answering questions after his speech in Whitehorse.

Erik Hertzberg/Bloomberg

Agriculture was a big contributor to the increase with a 6.3 percent gain, and the number of transportation companies climbed 5.7 percent from a year earlier.

Manufacturing grew 0.2 percent from a year ago, the first gain since 2010. Oil and gas companies declined by 6.6 percent, the fifth consecutive drop.

Statistics Canada said the figures released Wednesday are “experimental” and published data back to 2000.

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