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Canada, Economy

Canadian economy, world standards, major currencies, farm produce, furs

Canada has an advanced economy, and the majority of its citizens enjoy a high quality of life by world standards. Historically, much of this wealth has been generated through the extraction and processing of natural resources, especially fish, furs, timber, minerals, and farm produce. Increasingly, however, manufacturing and service activities have been added, and Canada now has one of the most complex economies in the world. Canada is also highly integrated into the global economy through trade, with 33.6 percent of its GDP dedicated to exports.

The Canadian economy has grown more rapidly than those of most other developed countries since the recession of the early 1990s. This success is due to several factors, including low inflation, low interest rates, and a low Canadian dollar (with respect to other major currencies), all of which helped exports to grow. However, this growth has not generated as many jobs as analysts expected. Canadian businesses have found ways to increase their output by introducing more-efficient methods of production rather than hiring more workers. Also, the role of government in the Canadian economy has declined, and with it the number of jobs in the public sector. In 1999 Canada’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent.

During the decade from 1986 to 1995, the Canadian economy grew 20.4 percent and reached a GDP of C$776.3 billion, representing a per-capita income of C$25,900. In 1999 it was C$976.7 billion. The mining, communications, utilities, trade, and financial services sectors grew the most rapidly in output, while employment growth was greatest in nongovernmental services. At the same time, the proportion of GDP accounted for by federal government expenditure decreased from 23.1 to 15.2 percent, the result of the sale of several large government-owned corporations as well as reduced program spending.

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