I attended a meeting at the Capital Theatre today put on by the ICSC. It was the first such meeting ever held in Atlantic Canada. Kudos to Ben Champeoux of the City of Moncton for helping to make this happen. The group was made up of local politicians, City staff, local developers, property managers and REALTORS (r). We heard a great presentation from Dr. Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, an economist at U de M. He has done extensive research on Moncton and the numbers that surround Moncton. He will do future research on how Greater Moncton has managed to buck the trend of other smaller regions.
Here is some of the stats he shared with us. These are based upon StatsCan numbers between 2001 - 2006 for the top 47 largest urban centers in Canada:
- Moncton is ranked #17 for economic growth - fastest in Atlantic Canada
- " " # 21 for in-migration - 2nd fastest in Atlantic Canada
- " " # 41 in average income ($30,994) this is actually a strength since small businesses can compete with these wages, leads to a diverse economy which handles economic downturns more easily.
- however, we are #19 in growth of average income (6%)
- employment growth was #17 in Canada between 1996 and 2006
Dr. Desjardins noted that Metro Moncton's economy isn't dependent on oil or gas, auto industries or the financial sector. We are also one of the most successful regions in Canada that is not a government center. Retail is worth $2.3 billion per year in spending but is only 12.4% of our GDP.
Dr. Desjardins finished by pointing out that everything boiled down to three major strengths for Metro:
- physical location as the "hub" and central location in time zones
- community diversity - bilingual work force, cultural center
- very diversified business community.
One of our challenges going forward is the labour shortage which will continue to grow if we can't attract more people through immigration, repatriation and keeping our people here. If we can't provide the workers, companies can't relocate here even if they want to.