- John Clinkard
Saskatoon appears to be leading the country in terms of overall economic health.
Its rate of job creation in January was the second fastest among the 27 largest metro areas in the country.
Saskatoon has the third lowest rate of unemployment.
Reflecting this stronger pattern of demand, housing starts in Q4/2009 were up by 49% year-over-year following a 57% year over year drop in Q3/2009.
It is worth noting that late in 2009 there were signs that Saskatoon’s economy had lost some of its momentum.
Consistent with the softening in labour demand over the past few months — as reflected by the Conference Board in Canada’s Metro Help Wanted Index — employment growth has trended steadily lower since November, while exisiting home sales declined in January (-11%) for the first time since May 2009.
Looking forward, a number of factors should cause Saskatoon’s economic pulse to beat more quickly as it moves through 2010.
First, the stronger outlook for commodity prices in general, and for potash and uranium in particular, should underpin a recovery in the metro area’s mining services sector.
Second, housing demand should benefit from a sustained pattern of net migration, which has averaged close to 4,500 individuals over the past three years.
Finally, the recent surge in non-residential building permits suggests that federal and provincial stimulus projects will give a significant boost to non-residential building that should extend into 2011.
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