Local Economy Rating Remains a C+

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN – Today, the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) released its Quarter 2 2017 Economic Dashboard for the Saskatoon Region. Recent economic indicators have shown signs of stability and modest growth in the local economy.

“Stabilized consumer and business confidence define the past quarter, demonstrated by consistent year-to-date increases in provincial wholesale trade, new car sales, and retail sales. While Saskatoon Region growth continues to be moderate, some ongoing uncertainty in the housing and construction sectors limited greater improvements. Key indicators display signs of economic security, with GDP exhibiting a higher growth rate than in Q1,” said Alex Fallon, President and CEO of SREDA.

SREDA rates the status of the local economy with a C+ grade, maintaining the Quarter 1 2017 rating.

“Overall, recovery has evolved into stability in Q2, and we expect the Saskatoon Region economy to gain continued balance throughout the remainder of 2017,” said Fallon.

The dashboard includes recent economic indicators related to GDP, employment, housing, retail, business licenses and more. Quarter 2 highlights include positive results for GDP, new business licenses, retail sales and wholesale trade. On the downside, the Saskatoon Region’s unemployment rate sits at 8.2% compared to the national average of 6.5%.

“Economic indicators show that growth, investment and optimism have superseded an underlying theme of concern among business in the region during the commodity down cycle. Saskatchewan merchandise exports, year over year from May 2016 to May 2017 were up $2.6B. Employment is up by 4,600 year over year in June, and new car sales are up 15% year to date from last year as well. Perhaps most importantly, investor confidence in the region continues with the announcement of a $50-million Class A office space development for the expansion of the World Trade Center network into Saskatoon,” said Keith Moen, Executive Director, North Saskatoon Business Association.

“The Chamber’s recent “Health Vision 20/20 Conference” demonstrated a lot of business growth in the innovation and the technology sectors in Saskatoon.  The commitment from the provincial government to fostering innovation indicates that these sectors continue to play an important role in the city’s economy. We are looking forward to supporting continued growth and new business startups in these sectors in the near future,” said Darla Lindbjerg, President and CEO, The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

“Rather than taking reports of housing starts being up or down overall at face value, it’s important to look at the differences between dwelling types to properly understand the current landscape. We continue to see increases in the permits pulled for single family homes, and those increases should be reflected in new housing starts in the coming months. We can also see an important change in the quantity of renovation permits being pulled in Saskatoon, with an increase year over year of 43% in Saskatoon as of the end of May 2017.  Homeowners are still very much investing in their homes; the future challenge as a region will be how to maintain housing affordability,” said Chris Guerette, CEO, Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association.

“We now have three consecutive quarters within the industrial and office sectors to illustrate vacancy rates have either stabilized or decreased. Retail vacancy as of Q2 2017 sits at only 3% and demand remains strong. Repurposing of the Saskatoon Police Station to office use, commencement of the River Landing project and the announcement that construction will begin on World Trade Centre this fall illustrates confidence that the Saskatoon office market has turned the corner. Although the sale of industrial and residential townhouse land remains anemic, there is a healthy demand for investment in other sectors of commercial real estate from both owner occupants and investors,” said Barry Stuart, Managing Partner Senior Sales Associate, ICR.

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Q2 2017 Economic Dashboard

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Erin Lawson
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