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The Hamilton Spectator
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Tuesday March 17, 2009
The bad news continued to mount Monday with new reports showing the average Canadian was about $14,000 poorer at the end of 2008 while business activity plunged to a new low as the recession entered its darkest period so far.

Statistics Canada said household wealth fell a massive $252 billion - or 4.4 per cent - at the end of 2008. On a per capital basis, the average individual worth fell to $165,300 from $179,300 in the second quarter.

With stock prices having fallen since, the likelihood is that net household worth has also continued to shrink.

As well, the agency said industries operated at 74.7 per cent of their capacity during the period, the lowest utilization rate since it began keeping records more than two decades ago.

But if it's darkest just before dawn, some economists are wondering if the same can be said about the current economy.

Amid the rubble, they are detecting what U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called the odd green sprout that could presage the coming of the economic spring.

"We've seen some progress in the financial markets, absolutely," Bernanke said in a rare television interview broadcast Sunday night.

"I do think we will get it stabilized, and we'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year." Bernanke also said he believed the United States is no longer in danger of falling into a depression, good news for Canada, since a recovery south of the border is believed to be a prerequisite for recovery north of the border.. Source.

Canadians $14,000 poorer
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