Job growth still high in Saskatoon
19 Nov 2014
Job growth still high in city
The Saskatoon region continues to be one of the strongest employment growth areas in the nation.
According to Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey, there were 500 jobs created in October, bringing the total number of jobs created so far in 2014 to 5,900.
Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce executive director Kent Smith-Winds or said it is higher than what was anticipated at the beginning of the year.
“W e didn’t think we would hit those numbers at the start of this year,” Smith-Windsor said.
For the past 10 years, the chamber has put together a yearly Target 8000 project that describes the number of net new jobs required each year to create career opportunities for post-secondary graduates as well as for high school graduates who go straight into the workforce.
Smith-Windsor said the city has outperformed other western Canadian cities in terms of job growth that are widely considered to be at the centre of job creation.
From 2006 until the present, employment growth in Saskatoon is 36 per cent growth. By comparison, during the same period Calgary’s employment growth was about 21.5 per cent growth and in Edmonton hit 27 per cent job growth.
“Saskatoon is producing almost 50 per cent more in employment growth,” Smith-Windsor said.
Going back further, in 1996 the Saskatoon area had a workforce of about 95,000. Today that number is about 170,000 workers.
“That is a growth rate between four and five per cent which is a pretty spectacular number,” he said.
“It has been a remarkable run.”
Smith-Windsor said the net new jobs over this period has created a solid tax base that includes the key 25-45 age demographic, which the province was lacking for a number of years.
That larger tax base helps pay for all types of social services, such as health care, and puts the province in a position of being able to weather a downturn in one sector of the economy better than in the past.
“Saskatoon is a lot more resilient and capable of withstanding the buffets of the global economy today than it was 10 or 20 years ago,” he said.
He credits the city’s business climate for some of the improvement, saying it is much more competitive than in the past.
“The Saskatoon business community continues to grow employment at a rate that is among the fastest in the nation,” Smith-Windsor said.
“These results are a testament to the entrepreneurs of Saskatoon as they continue to build this city and create career opportunities for thousands of our graduates.
“I don’t know what 2015 will hold,” he said. “There will be growth in the market … but I can’t tell you the pace.”