Encouraging Signs of Growth
Saskatchewan’s economy continues to show signs of strength in many sectors.
Since the beginning of 2018 we see continued growth in population, merchandise exports, building permits and manufacturing sales.
Diversity in our export sector has helped increase the performance in merchandise exports. The total value of Saskatchewan merchandise exports in January 2018 was $2.77 billion. The latest figures released in March show that month to month, merchandise exports were up 10%, and year over year, they were up 4%, well ahead of most provinces.
Machinery manufacturing and wood products are driving growth in industrial sales. Manufacturing sales in Saskatchewan increased by 5.7% in January 2018, compared to December 2017, to over $1.38 billion. Once again in this sector, we are ahead nation-wide, as Saskatchewan ranked first in percentage change among the provinces.
There are promising signs for the construction industry with strong building permit numbers. Both residential and non-residential building permits have increased, with the greater increase in non-residential, up 42.6 % year-over-year in January to $105 million.
Entering the second quarter of the year, Saskatchewan can be confident in looking ahead to the remainder of 2018. In its economic outlook, RBC projects Saskatchewan will lead Canada in economic growth in 2018 with a forecasted 2.9% growth in GDP. The province’s economy will benefit from recovery in the energy sector, as well as rising investment spending and expected rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors. Their report notes secured potash contracts in China and India as contributing factors to growth. The growth in the mining sector is expected to have a positive effect on capital spending and the construction sector in Saskatchewan.
Our optimism in the mining sector is supported by 2017 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies. Saskatchewan was named top jurisdiction in North America for Mining Investment and the second most attractive in the world. The Fraser Institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index is based on two components: the geologic attractiveness of a region based on actual mineral potential, and its policy attractiveness in terms of the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment. In Saskatchewan we continue to work to reduce red tape wherever possible in order to attract investment in mining and various other sectors.
The Fraser Institute has also found that Saskatchewan has the highest performing labour market in Canada.
The reason we continue to encourage and pursue growth is to be able to provide the quality services the people of our province deserve. This has always been a key foundation of the Saskatchewan Party Government. Economic growth produces more funding to be invested into vital services such as healthcare, education and social supports without leaving a burden of debt for future generations. The optimism, initiative and courage of our people will keep Saskatchewan growing stronger.