Population boom spurs economy

Mar 2013
The StarPhoenix
SCOTT LARSON
THE STARPHOENIX
Population boom spurs economy
Housing, retail reap benefits
Population growth in Saskatoon and Regina is double the national average and is one of the keys in propelling economic growth, says a Conference Board of Canada report.
Strong economic performance in Western Canada has propelled population growth in the western census metropolitan areas (CMAs), thanks to their very attractive labour markets in this period of economic boom, the report said.
Population growth in Saskatoon has averaged 2.5 per cent in the last five years, No. 1 in the country, and Regina’s growth sits fourth (two per cent during the same period).
The national average is 1.2 per cent per year.
Population boom spurs economy Economic Development  Saskatchewan Provincial Economy
Mario Lefebvre, director, Centre for Municipal Studies with the Conference Board, said economic growth is the sum of three components: productivity growth, growth in the capital stock and labour force growth.
He said population growth plays a big part in the fortunes of the provincial economy.
“It is more than just a question of commodities and resources and whatever else that may have given birth to this (boom in Saskatchewan),” said Lefebvre.
“It is having such a strong population growth that housing demand is going through the roof, that retailers are smiling every day because people visiting their stores is increasing at a rapid pace.
“Once you have these two economic variables going — consumer spending and housing activity — you have the recipe for success.”
Nationally, potential economic growth has been around 2.5 per cent in recent years and the contribution to growth of the three components is roughly one per cent from productivity, 0.5 per cent from the capital stock and another one per cent from the labour force, Lefebvre said.
While CMAs in Saskatchewan and Alberta have been a magnet to people, CMAs like Windsor and Greater Sudbury in Ontario have been hit by declines in the population level for years now, curbing overall economic growth in those areas.
As Canada’s population ages, “one can expect a weaker contribution from the labour force to overall economic growth, as an aging population will increase the amount of workers leaving the labour force each year.”
Lefebvre said most regions in Canada will have to turn to productivity growth and adopt an innovation strategy to offset the weaker labour force growth.
“But it is less urgent for places where population growth is above two per cent (like Western Canada),” he said.
That doesn’t mean Saskatchewan cities can sit back.
“It’s one thing to attract people, another one to retain them,” Lefebvre said, adding both Alberta and Saskatchewan seem to be doing a solid job in that regard.
“I’m not seeing any letup,” he said.
“This community has surprised me on the upside for years and years.”

via Prosperity Saskatchewan http://prosperitysaskatchewan.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/4803/

One comment

  • “Strong economic performance in Western Canada has propelled population growth in the western census metropolitan areas”. While it is true the metropolitan areas are seeing the largest population increase, towns are also seeing positive increases in population growth.

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