This December, consider starting a wish jar. Regardless of how far you are into the month, take a decorative jar or a pretty vase and have everyone who passes through write down their wishes, hopes or goals for the year.

Let everyone know their notes can be serious and goal-oriented, or more for fun, such as saying they will learn one new recipe each week over the next year. Keep it easy and rule-free: family and friends can add as many or as few ideas as they would like to include.

Tuck the jar away and one year later, you can retrieve the jar and read the notes to see how far everyone has progressed. You might be surprised at who took the challenge seriously.

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The Canadian economy grew at a 5.4 per cent annual rate in the third quarter, driven by strong spending by households and gains in exports. Households continue to be a strong engine of the recovery, with continued growth in spending on goods but also a welcome return to spending on services as that part of the economy re-opens. That spending was fueled by the largest growth in employee compensation since the year 2000 with wages rising close to 4 per cent in BC and over 3 per cent in both Alberta and Ontario. Strong wage growth and a sixth straight quarter of a double-digit household savings rate signals strong growth ahead for the Canadian economy.
 
That said, the global economic environment continues to be a confusing mix of booming demand, gummed-up supply chains and an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  While it appears that the Canadian economy is primed for strong growth, as a small open economy that growth very much depends on the smooth functioning of global supply and demand. As long as supply chains remain challenged, and a further challenge was just thrown their way by flooding across BC’s rail and highway network, growth will continue to be impeded. Fortunately, these are solvable issues that simply need time.  Even with choppy growth this year, the Canadian economy will expand close to 5 per cent in 2021 after contracting 5.3 per cent last year.  We forecast that the economy will enjoy strong growth in 2022, with real GDP growth of 4 per cent. That growth profile would put the economy on track to return to its potential by mid-2022, as projected by the Bank of Canada.
or more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.
Link:  https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-real-gdp-q32021
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The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) fell from 155.4 to 150.9 in the third quarter of 2021, representing the first decline since the economy began recovering from the COVID-19-induced recession. Compared to the same time last year, the index was up by 9 per cent.

It is important to note that while the economy generally continues recovering strongly, we are still in a very abnormal and uncertain environment for commercial real estate. Therefore, the strong economic and employment growth we have seen in previous quarters may not translate directly to improved conditions in the commercial real estate market.

The CLI declined in the third quarter due to a drop in the economic activity component of the index, which was the result of lower manufacturing sales. That decline in manufacturing was primarily due to a reversal in lumber prices following their historic run-up in the first half of the year. The economic activity component of the CLI was also negatively impacted by an 8.3 per cent decrease in wholesale trade, while retail sales declined 1.5 per cent primarily due to a 5.5 per cent quarterly decline in motor vehicle sales as a result of the ongoing semiconductor chip supply shortage. These negative economic factors combined to drive the quarterly decline in the CLI.

Employment in key commercial real estate sectors such as finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) increased in the third quarter, rising by 2,000 across the province to a record high for the sector. As a result, for a fourth consecutive month the office employment component of the index hit an all-time high. However, the effect of this strong employment growth on the demand for office space remains unclear as many nominal “office workers” continue to work remotely. Manufacturing employment also remained essentially flat in the third quarter.

The CLI’s financial component made a positive contribution to the index for a fourth consecutive quarter, while REIT prices hit fresh records. Risk spreads between corporate and government debt remained very tight.

To view the full Commercial Leading Indicator PDF, click here.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Experts often encourage people to think outside the box when trying to be creative. According to The Creativity Post writer K.H. Kim, you should consider three distinct boxes to unleash your imagination:

1. Inside box: This box holds your expertise and knowledge, and is useful for narrowing things down, focusing on specifics, and identifying options.

2. Outside box: This box is flexible and holds all the possibilities. Let it relax your focus and explore everything, whether or not it’s related to work.

3. New box: This box lets you synthesize and refine ideas for effective implementation. Use it to connect ideas and find new ways of approaching problems.

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Sometimes, you need an approach to emotional situations at work that allows you to take a breather before automatically saying “no” or insisting things go your way. Try these two little things the next time someone approaches you with an impossible-sounding request:

First, take a walk. If you’re feeling burnt out or possibly overwhelmed by emotion while at work, sometimes the most effective measure is the simplest one: take a breather. If you have the ability to leave the premises entirely, a walk sometimes can restore your energy and change your mood. Get out, enjoy some fresh air and see if the situation seems more approachable when you return to your work area.

Then, try giving people what they need, even if it is not how you would approach a situation. Ask yourself what the person is seeking and see if you can some way deliver it for them. For example, if you have a coworker who needs ideas broken down into manageable bites, it could be more effective to deconstruct a larger project than wait for them to proceed outside their comfort zone.

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All of the third graders at Emily’s school had practiced songs for the holiday concert. When they first received the music at the start of the school year, December seemed far off in the future. However, with just a week to go until the concert, Emily still didn’t have any idea how she would make the concert a good one for her mother, who was born deaf.

The teacher informed the children that a few permission slips, required to walk to the theater for the afternoon concert, were still missing... including Emily’s slip.

After her brothers had recapped their day in the American Sign Language they all used at home, Emily bravely asked her mom if she would like to attend the concert. Her mother, usually shy in social settings, hesitated but smiled and signed the permission slip.

That Friday, most of the children spotted their parents in the old theater, but one seat remained empty. At show time, Emily’s mom still had not arrived.

When the house lights came on, Emily saw her mother was seated in the center of the first row. Her mother stood, then proudly began clapping in a standing ovation for the young performers, with all the other parents following suit. As the lights rose over the stage for the show to begin, the audience faded into darkness and the little girl gave up trying to spot her mother, focusing instead on singing with all her heart. Suddenly, a movement caught her eye. To the right of the risers, she saw both her brothers, signing the words for the audience.

The show was perfect.

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In October, housing starts and new listings in BC were flat, while home sales began rising again. Rising sales in all regions of the province reversed the “calming trend” which had occurred since peaks in March. Rental rates remain elevated and continue to trend upwards in Victoria and Vancouver relative to pre-pandemic levels amid generally high consumer price appreciation.
 
Retail sales in BC rose in September to a fresh record, with sales 6.7 per cent above the same month last year. As of November, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are near the highest level since the onset of the pandemic, at roughly 80 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. This contrasts with a drop in reservations in Montreal and Toronto relative to post-pandemic peaks in late August. In BC, Google’s measure of movement trends remains high, although below the peak in late summer, currently about 14 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. This easing in movement is due in part to seasonality.
 
Although aggregate employment in BC has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector is about 13 per cent below the pre-pandemic level. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 9 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels.
 
Manufacturing in BC rose slightly in September but remains below its peak due to a drop in the value of wood product sales. Exports in the province remained flat in September, while imports rose 3 per cent to a new record. Business confidence retreated slightly in October in BC, while consumer confidence rose slightly. Tourists into BC continued to rise after Americans were allowed to enter the country in August, hitting roughly 32 per cent of the February 2020 level in September. 
 
For a more comprehensive overview of BC's economic recovery, click here.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.
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November is National Entrepreneurship Month and with that comes a chance for business owners to celebrate and reflect. The Forbes website offers these tips for entrepreneurs that are good to keep in mind all 12 months of the year:

1.  Always put customers first. While digital tools are incredibly useful, it’s essential not to let distance de-emphasize the need to focus on your customers. Check in regularly with customers about how they’re responding to your services. Ask important questions to refocus on who you should be targeting. Is there something you aren’t doing that competitors are? What about the opposite?

2.  Get your books in order. Belts and budgets tightened for a lot of businesses throughout the pandemic. Use revenue projections to predict what your business will need to bring in next year to remain profitable and limit turnover. Take a long look at your budget to figure out how you can stretch it as far as humanly possible. By getting creative with your bottom line, you’ll be able to sustain and thrive companywide.

3.  Keep track of your mentorship programs and support systems. Employees are the heartbeat of any company. Seventy-one percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs. By taking care of employees and providing them with opportunities to grow and feel supported, you keep high-performing staff in the organization and inspired to continue contributing to your long-term growth. And by building a healthy stable of mentees, you’re encouraging everyone to pay it forward —89% of them will likely mentor others.

4.  Start brainstorming now— not in the new year. Planning is vital for any organization with long-term aspirations. But strategic planning can look different based on your unique goals. With less than two months left in 2021, take the rest of the year to put things into perspective for 2022. Continually revisit your budget, aligning those numbers with your big picture goals for the year. Put these elements into perspective and determine where they fit into your company’s prospects for the next year and beyond.

November is an excellent time to reflect on the past and look forward to your future business trajectory. Take this month to think about where you’ve been, look at where your company currently stands, and set a clear course toward its ultimate destination.

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Cookies have a long history, but the first ones didn’t taste much like the treats we enjoy today. According to some sources, the first cookies were made in Rome around the third century B.C. They were thin, hard, bland wafers that were twice baked, and the Romans ate them by dipping them in juice.

Modern cookies may have originated in Persia during the seventh century, when sugar became more common in that region. They became popular across Europe in the 14th century, enjoyed by royalty and peasants alike. One reason for their appeal was that they traveled well in tins and boxes, making them a reliable source of food on trips.

The word “cookie” comes from the Dutch “koekje,” for “little cake.” Cookies arrived in America in the 17th century, in the form of macaroons, gingerbread cookies, and the “jumble,” a hard cookie that combined nuts, sweeteners, and water. The cookies we’re most familiar with, made by creaming butter and sugar, became common in the 18th century.

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Some advice is tough to take, especially about money. The Inside website shares one financial planner’s unwelcome words that more people should bear in mind:

1. You’re probably not saving enough money for retirement. Chances are you’re thinking you’ve got enough time to start putting money aside for your later years. Unless you’re already wealthy, you’re probably wrong. Take a look at your income and assets, determine when you want to retire, and calculate realistically how much money you’ll need to live the rest of your life comfortably. If you’ve got children, don’t forget to start saving for college early, too. 

2. You can’t afford that much house. Monthly payments are only part of the expense in owning a home. Taxes, maintenance, repairs, and everything else can add up quickly. Don’t be too eager to buy the biggest house you can get a mortgage for. Get a reasonable loan that you can live with as other expenses come and go. 

3. Be comfortable with risk. The economy and the stock market are uncertain, but you can’t play it safe all the time. Don’t panic when the stock market goes down. Remember that you’re in it for the long haul, and stick to your investment plan. The economy is cyclical, so eventually things should swing back to positive territory.

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