An established, wild blueberry producer that employs about 85 Nova Scotians will receive a provincial loan guarantee to continue to grow its business during tough economic times. Blueberries cultivated and processed by Rainbow Farms Limited in Hants County are sold around the world, with demand increasing in the United Kingdom and Japan, in particular. The province’s Industrial Expansion Fund will provide $1.5 million for the company to grow and maintain its full-time positions and $1-million payroll. “We are pleased to support this successful company that makes a significant contribution to the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia,” said Murray Scott, Minister of Economic and Rural Development. “The company is not only an important employer for Hants County, but its business creates significant spinoffs for the local community and for producers across the province.” The investment complements Select Nova Scotia and Taste of Nova Scotia by supporting the variety and quality of food that the province has to offer to domestic and international markets. “Supporting this homegrown, family-owned business, which has 3,000-plus acres of natural blueberry land for development and future production, is vital,” said Agriculture Minister Mark Parent. “The wild blueberry industry is experiencing dramatic growth and Rainbow Farms is actively seeking new markets for its products.” As a result of the world-wide economic and credit crisis, successful companies operating in Nova Scotia are experiencing challenges accessing capital from banks. With the Industrial Expansion Fund, the government of Nova Scotia is able to provide access to capital and help protect jobs and support businesses to be more competitive and sustainable.
US economy delivers solid Q2 growth, rising inflation as Fed moves toward rate hike In this Friday, June 5, 2015 photo, Maria Cantellano, left, gives change to a customer while working at her stand at the Atlanta Farmers Market in Atlanta. The U.S. economy posted a solid rebound in the April-June quarter after a harsh winter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, July 30, 2015, led by a surge in consumer spending and a recovery in foreign trade that bode well for the rest of the year. (AP Photo/David Goldman) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Jul 30, 2015 7:37 am MDT Last Updated Jul 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy isn’t moving at warp speed, but it looks like it will be strong enough to handle an expected interest rate increase later this year.Fueled by solid consumer spending, Thursday’s report on the gross domestic product underscored the steady growth that is likely to bolster the Federal Reserve’s case that it will soon be time to make a move, perhaps in September.The economy’s total output of goods and services rebounded to a respectable annual rate of 2.3 per cent in the April-June quarter, the best showing since last summer. Moreover, the first quarter managed to grow a slight 0.6 per cent, reversing an earlier government estimate of a contraction.“The fact that the economy improved meaningfully in the second quarter and is likely to strengthen further in the current quarter should keep a September rate hike on the table,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.While the latest figures fall short of a boom, the United States appears in better shape than other major economics of the world. China — the world’s second-biggest economy — has seen a sharp drop in stock prices recently. Meanwhile, Europe has been consumed with resolving a stubborn debt crisis in Greece.The International Monetary Fund is forecasting that the 19 nations that use the euro currency will grow a modest 1.5 per cent this year. It expects China to expand 6.8 per cent, which would be the slowest growth rate for the country in 25 years.In the United States, economists are hopeful that the 1.5 per cent average growth from January through June will double in the second half of this year to around 3 per cent.The optimism stems from projected trends in consumer spending, which should strengthen further in coming months thanks to robust job gains. Unemployment hit a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent in June, but the Fed says it wants to see more. It remains concerned about wage growth and the number of part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs.The Fed also needs to be convinced that price gains will eventually rise toward its target of 2 per cent a year. Inflation has been running well below that level for some time, a situation that policymakers view as a sign of a still-weak economy.The GDP report did offer some encouragement on the inflation front. A price measure tied to GDP rose at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent in the second quarter. Excluding food and energy costs, the price index rose by 1.8 per cent, up from 1 per cent gains in the two previous quarters.While the GDP report provided support for the Fed’s march toward higher rates, economists cautioned that a hike at the Sept. 16-17 meeting is by no means a certainty. It will depend largely on incoming data between now and then, including two jobs reports and a revision to Thursday’s GDP estimate.“Data over the next two months retain their primary position in the decision process,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.The Fed noted in its post-meeting statement Wednesday that the job market, housing and consumer spending had all improved. As expected, it kept a key rate at a record low near zero, where it’s remained since 2008.While many analysts peg September for a rate hike, others aren’t so sure.They contend that it may take longer for the Fed to see the improvements it seeks, delaying the first rate hike until as late as December. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has emphasized in recent appearances that if the economy improves as she expects, a rate increase will happen before the end of this year.The current recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 has been the weakest of any expansion since World War II. Revised data released separately Thursday showed even more weakness than previously believed. For the three years from 2012 through 2014, growth averaged just 2 per cent, down from the previous estimate that the economy turned in average growth of 2.3 per cent during this period.The modest performance has raised concerns that the U.S. economy has entered a period of historically slow growth. The nation’s workforce is growing at a weaker pace, and employees are less efficient than before the recession, government data show. Those trends could restrain future economic growth.In the second quarter, consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of economic activity, expanded at an annual rate 2.9 per cent. That is a sizable pickup from the 1.8 per cent growth in the first quarter.Trade also served as a small boost to overall growth after subtracting nearly 2 percentage points in the first quarter. Trade in the first quarter was hampered by a labour dispute at West Coast ports and the rising value of the dollar.Business investment, which has been hurt by a sharp cutback at energy companies, fell at an annual rate of 0.6 per cent in the first quarter. That reflected in part a big drop in the category that covers oil and gas exploration activities.Housing construction was a bright spot, rising at a 6.6 per cent rate. The government sector grew at a 0.8 per cent rate as gains in spending by state and local governments offset a drop at the federal level.__Associated Press economics writer Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.