More people leaving Alta than moving in for 1st time in 15 years: Stats Canada

By Shannon Montgomery (CP) – 6 days ago

CALGARY — Saddled with dwindling employment and shrinking energy prices, Alberta seems to be losing its status as the promised land for job-seekers from across Canada.

For more than a decade the province's resource-rich economy has drawn in hundreds of thousands of people from Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and elsewhere.

But Statistics Canada's third-quarter population estimate for 2009 shows more people left Alberta for other provinces than moved in.

That's the first time that has happened since 1994.

Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with the Bank of Montreal, says the province was pulling in almost 50,000 people a year from other provinces at the height of the energy boom .

"It is an amazing turnaround from as recently as three years ago when, on average, we were seeing about 12,000 or 13,000 net new migrants (per quarter) into Alberta from the rest of the country," he said Wednesday.

The culprit is probably a rising unemployment rate that's the result of tumbling energy prices, Porter said.

For example, Saskatchewan's unemployment rate was consistently higher than Alberta's several years ago but is now two percentage points lower.

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Doug Huntley

Doug Huntley

CENTURY 21 Fusion
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