Wiseman acknowledges province is in a recession — technically

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Finance Minister Ross Wiseman has grudgingly acknowledged the province is, in fact, in a recession.

Finance Minister Ross Wiseman

When Wiseman tabled his provincial budget a week and a half ago, some of the economic indicators were grim.

The province is forecasting decline in Real GDP for five consecutive years, and the standard definition of a recession is two quarters of negative economic growth.

But on budget day, faced with a barrage of reporters’ questions, Wiseman steadfastly refused to acknowledge the recession.

Now, after economists have broadly said the province is already in recession — most recently, an economist from BMO Nesbitt-Burns — Wiseman conceded the province fits the bill.

“If you look at other economic indicators, we’re still doing quite well,” he said. “I acknowledge the textbook, and technically the definition of a recession as being two consecutive quarters, and we’re going to have that.”

Wiseman said things aren’t really all that bad, though.

He pointed out that capital investment and employment is still doing OK.

In fact, unemployment is forecast to rise every year through until 2019, and capital investment is forecast to shrink during the same period, as megaprojects such as Hebron, Long Harbour and Muskrat Falls wrap up.

“On balance, we’re not seeing ourselves experiencing a huge shrinkage in economic activity,” Wiseman said.

Geographic location: Hebron, Long Harbour

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