Saskatoon is home to Canada’s fastest growing economy – by Jeannie Armstrong (The [Saskatoon] StarPhoenix – October 22, 2011)

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/index.html

The country’s top economists are in agreement. Saskatoon will continue to lead economic growth in Canada through 2013.

[SASKATOON] FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY

The Conference Board of Canada, known for its conservative economic forecasts, says that Saskatoon’s economy will expand by 4.1 per cent this year, and will remain at the top of the economic growth leader board through 2013.The gap between Saskatoon and second place Calgary is quite significant, with Calgary’s economy expected to grow by 3.4 per cent.

What factors are contributing to Saskatoon’s sustained economic growth?

According to the Conference Board of Canada announcement, “Saskatoon is benefiting from strong resource development, while healthy population growth is bolstering the housing market.”

Over $10 billion in new mines and expansions are in development in the province, and Saskatoon is at the epicenter of all of the activity.

Tim LeClair, Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA), is quick to point out that mining isn’t the only engine boosting the city’s economy.

“We also have to give credit to other sectors of the economy which aren’t related to the resource sector, including manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and communication,” says LeClair.

The Saskatoon region has one of the most diversified economies in the country, says LeClair.

While mining, energy and agriculture dominate the city’s economic landscape, all three sectors are driving increased activity in the manufacturing sector, where local companies are busy producing fabricated metal goods and machinery, transportation equipment, wood products, electronic and electrical equipment, plastics, as well as food and beverage processing.

The production of local goods, in turn, impacts the transportation and distribution industry, as 85 per cent of local manufacturers are also exporting products outside of Saskatchewan.

FASTEST GROWING POPULATION

Not only does Saskatoon boast the country’s fastest growing economy, we have also earned the title of “Fastest Growing City in Canada.”

Between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, Saskatoon’s population increased by 3 per cent, (7,200 residents), for a total population of 265,300, according to Statistics Canada.The federal agency attributes approximately 50 per cent of the city’s population growth to international migration.Approximately 3,300 international immigrants relocated to Saskatoon during that 12-month period, attracted by the city’s diverse economy.

CANADA’SYOUNGEST CITY

The arrival of young international families, as well as the growing aboriginal population, means that Saskatoon is also Canada’s youngest city, according to the same Statistics Canada report. Saskatoon’s residents are the youngest in the country, on average, with a median age of 35.4 years, compared to the national median of 39.7 years.

SASKATOON IS HIRING

According to Statistic Canada’s most recent survey, Saskatchewan enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.The August unemployment rate for Saskatchewan was 4.5 per cent, by far the lowest in the country. Full-time employment in the province reached an all-time high of 454,300 in August, 2011, breaking the record previously set in July 2010.

Saskatoon’s unemployment rate for August, 2011 was 5.1 per cent, down .3 per cent from the month previous, and the fourth lowest rate of any metropolitan area in Canada.

Entrepreneurs are among the most prolific job creators in the city, says LeClair. Over 1,000 new business licenses are issued every year to Saskatoon entrepreneurs.”If each of those new businesses has 1.5 employees or higher, that’s tremendous job creation,” says LeClair.

more than 100 people in Saskatoon employ “Only 56 companies of entrepreneurial, employment comes out each.The vast majority of our is fueling Saskatoon’s companies. Small business homegrown economic growth.”

The quality of jobs being created in Saskatoon is equally exciting, says LeClair, citing the anticipated recruitment of between 500 to 700 engineers by local mining companies as an example. “These positions have annual incomes of $150,000 and up,” says LeClair.

Saskatoon workers have spending power, evidenced by the nation-leading 9.5 per cent increase in retail sales between June 2010 and June 2011.The increase is more than double the national increase of 4.6 per cent.

“One only has to look at the automotive industry in Saskatoon. When you see the level of activity here, it’s a very basic barometer of the economy,” says LeClair of the 12.2 per cent year-over-year increase in new car and truck sales in Saskatchewan.

HOUSING HOT SPOT

with in home construction, Saskatchewan also leads the nation in housing communities in the province Saskatoon outpacing all other starts. During the first six months of 2011, housing starts increased by 38 per cent in Saskatchewan, the largest increase in Canada.

in housing starts are located of the province’s new Sixty per cent Officer of Thomarat, Chief Executive region, says Alan the Saskatoon Builders’ Association. the Saskatoon Home

the province in Saskatoon leads According to the association, single family and multi-family activity in both residential construction region from January in the Saskatoon Overall housing starts unit starts. during than those recorded 37 per cent higher to July 2011 are time period in 2010. the same

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