Ottawa, May 16, 2012—Economic prospects remain bright in Saskatchewan. Coming off growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly five per cent in 2011, The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook-Spring 2012 forecasts that Saskatchewan will grow by 2.9 per cent this year and 3.5 per cent in 2013.
If the debt crisis in Europe continues to fester, economic growth in Saskatchewan and its neighbouring provinces would slow modestly this year.
“Saskatchewan’s economy will continue to perform well in 2012, despite cuts to potash production, and ongoing uncertainty in the global outlook,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Outlook. “The domestic economy has plenty of momentum and business investment remains high. As a result, employment will grow as will wages and salaries, further boosting consumer demand for homes and retail goods.”
Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate, which will average 4.8 per cent this year, is expected to fall to 4.5 per cent in 2013 —the lowest among all provinces. The strength of Saskatchewan’s labour market is reflected in personal disposable income, which is expected to grow by a strong 4.4 per cent this year and 3.9 per cent next year.
A steep cut in production by major potash producers during the first quarter of 2012 is the primary reason for a decline in non-metal mining output this year. Offsetting the decline in potash output is growth in mineral fuels – such as oil – thanks to strong drilling activity. Overall, the mining industry is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year and by a blistering 9.2 per cent in 2013.
Fiscal restraint will hold back growth in public sector employment and output. But Saskatchewan will be one of the few provinces to post budget surpluses this year and next.
The Conference Board is convening its first-ever forum on Saskatchewan on May 29 and 30 in Regina. The Saskatchewan Forum will attract provincial, regional, Canadian, and international thought leaders, decision-makers, and influencers to discuss Saskatchewan’s current performance and to generate a vision for the province’s future in 2022 and in 2050. The Forum will include the presentation of the Conference Board’s 10-year economic outlook for the province.