Saskatoon Region Economic Report – 2013 Quarter 4

GDP growth has been estimated at 6.1% this year, which equates to nearly an additional $1 Billion in economic activitiyQ4 2013 Stats for SREDA_Page_1 compared to 2012. This is mostly based on a significant increase in the Primary Industries (mining, oil & gas) (+16.2%), as well as Manufacturing (+4.1%). The Transportation & Warehousing Sector saw signficant gains (+6.1%), as did the Information & Cultural Sector (5.5%). FIRE (+3.7%) and Personal Service Sector (+9.2%) helped drive growth as well. In fact, all sectors in Saskatoon grew with the exception of the Public Administration sector (-3.7%). This bodes well inasmuch as the private sector driving growth in the city.
Population and employment gains are significant again this year. Population increase of 4.2% is helping drive growth, and the 8.2% increase in employment means that 12,400 more people were working at the end of 2013 than 12 months prior.
The unemployment rate dropped below 3.9%, even with the layoffs in the Primary Industries (mining, oil & gas) (-11.5%). Employment increases in the Manufacturing Sector (+33.5%) is very encouraging, as are increases in the Transportation & Warehousing Sector (+23.3%), and the Information & Cultural Sector (56.7%). Labour shortages are still an issue, though.
Building permits (Year to date) are up sighlty (0.5%) this year, and still higher than 2011 (+16%). The $60M building permit in October for the new art gallery made the difference, and is the reason for the significant jump in Assembly permits. Overall, the 9.4% increase non-residential building permits made up for the decrease in the value and number of Residential building permits (-5.3%).
Housing starts are down (-20.6%) compared to 2012, but are similar to 2011 total starts. With new mortgage rules in place, this is not entirely unexpected. It is still significantly higher than the average number of starts during the first part of the 2000’s.
Existing house prices have leveled off, with slight price gains (+1%) compared to 2012. The amount of construction over the past two years created a significant supply of housing that is meeting the need of buyers.
While new business licences for the quarter are down, 2013 saw an increase in total new businesses in Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon Airport still sees increasing numbers, +4.7% over 2012 and 11.5% higher than 2011.