The hospitality sector saw a little momentum building late last year in Saskatchewan.
The most current data on revenues in bars and restaurants – perhaps the strongest indicator of consumer confidence and a measure of discretionary spending – come from November. It was the best month in a year, according to StatsCan.
In part, this tracks the national trend. November was an up month for eight of the provinces. It tracks total receipts or revenues in restaurants and taverns so price increases can have an impact – same volume being served but at a higher value.
And the federal agency notes that prices were on the rise in November across all product lines.
But the November strength reverses a down month in October and is about five-percent higher than a year earlier in the province on a seasonally adjusted basis….and a little better without adjustments.
The big gains were in the bar business and what StatsCan calls specialty food services which includes caterers and companies serving mining camps. Full-service restaurants actually saw a bit of a decline compared to October.
What’s left in your wallet.
Every year – about a month after Christmas – the folks at RBC Royal Bank do a survey of Canadians to see how they managed their finances during the holiday season: did they over-spend or budget well?
This year’s results, released yesterday, show we over-spent. Again.
More than half of us over-spent this time round. That compares to 40-percent last year and averaged $403 over budget. That compares to $397 last year.
So…what are we going to do to cut back this year to make up for it? In Saskatchewan, the most common response was to reduce our entertainment spending. Cutting back on lunches and coffees was next and then day-to-day spending. One-in-eight of us has no idea where to start.
Looking ahead, we are also the least likely to do nothing in the coming year. In fact, more of us said we’d use reward points more effectively than any other Canadian. And we plan to start saving ahead of time. But we said that last year too.
When it comes to the basics, Saskatchewan is a very cost-effective location for food and clothing and shelter but not so much for transportation.
StatsCan has just released a study on the cost of providing the basics of food, clothing and shelter in various parts of the country. It looks at 2015 so it is a year old but still relevant as it covers a period when we were feeling the effects of the economic downturn.
Saskatchewan does fairly well in terms of disposable income. Only Albertans spent more on basics than we did and we were about 10-percent higher than the national average.
Just over one-quarter went to housing. The national average was closer to 30-percent. Buying food also takes a relatively smaller share of our spending – at 13-percent, it is better than any other province.
Clothing takes 5-percent of our spending. Only BC residents did better.
But on transportation we were at the higher end of the scale. At 23-percent we were second only to Newfoundland and well above the national average,