Most of the mid-sized Canadian cities covered in the Mid-Sized Cities Outlook have enjoyed positive economic growth since the end of the 2008–09 recession. Similarly to the decade leading up to the recession, of the 46 mid-sized cities in this report, the strongest economic expansion in recent years has been in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alta., which includes Fort McMurray, thanks to massive oil sands development and production. In fact, 7 of the 10 fastest-growing mid-sized city economies are in Western Canada.
But 10 mid-sized cities have continued to struggle since the official end of the recession. Of these, 8 are in Eastern Canada—the economies in Miramichi, N.B., and New Glasgow, N.S., have been particularly weak.
Total employment has followed a similar trend to that of GDP in Canada’s mid-sized cities, with 30 of the 46 suffering drops in overall employment over the recession. Since then, employment has been on the upswing in most mid-sized cities, with 28 of the 46 cities posting positive job creation numbers between 2010 and 2013. But employment in nearly half of the 46 mid-sized cities covered in this report (21 of 46) remains below 2007 levels.