BUSINESS
08/24/2011 01:42 EDT | Updated 10/24/2011 05:12 EDT

Canadian Economy Registered No Real Growth Since Recession's Start: The Economist

Canada's real economy was smaller in the first half of this year than it was before the start of the North American recession four years ago, an analysis from The Economist shows.

In a sign of how deep the financial crisis of the last several years has been, The Economist's analysis showed that Canada has made no economic headway since the last quarter of 2007, with the country's real GDP one per cent lower in the second quarter of this year than it was then.

The real GDP measure adjusts economic output numbers to account for inflation and population growth. While Canada has registered seven consecutive quarters of economic growth, those numbers are nominal. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, Canada is producing less wealth per person than it was at the start of the recession.

But Canada's economy still looks to be in relatively good shape compared to other G7 countries. The Economist found the U.S.'s real GDP has shrunk by 4 per cent since the last quarter of 2007, while Italy, Japan and the U.K. are 5 per cent to 6 per cent below where they were before the crisis.

Of the countries suveyed, China and India led the pack in economic growth, expanding by 35 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, over the period.

The numbers look even more grim when analyzed from the perspective of trend growth, which compares economic numbers with a projection of what they would have been had the recession not happened.

By that measure, Canada's GDP is 9 per cent below what it would have been without a recession. The U.S. is 13 per cent below what it would have been.

Other countries have fared worse: Greece, for example, has seen real GDP decline by more than 10 per cent during the period, and Ireland's real GDP has fallen 12 per cent.

The Economist notes that all this adds up to substantial economic losses.

"If the shortfall in GDP relative to trend in each year since 2007 is totted up, America has suffered a cumulative loss of $4 trillion, equivalent to a stunning $13,000 for each person," The Economist reports. "Stock markets and newspapers will cheer when growth rates eventually pick up, but most of the income that has been lost since the crisis began will never be recouped."