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Canada’s Diverse economies, multiple sectors key to stability in mid-sized cities

OTTAWA, September 17, 2019 (Globe Newswire) – Increasingly, mid-sized cities rely on diverse sectors and industries for stability and growth. Today’s release of Canada’s Mid-Sized Cities Outlook provides insight into the economic drivers across seven featured cities.

 “With the upcoming federal election, it’s important to understand the role that these smaller centres play as regional economic hubs”, says Alan Arcand, Associate Director of Municipal Studies at The Conference Board of Canada.  “It’s worth noting what drives growth and sustainability, and how government policy can influence economic outcomes.”

Leading the way in growth is Lethbridge, Alberta. Lethbridge’s economy has fired on all cylinders over the past two years, expanding by 5.8 per cent in 2017 and by 5.1 per cent in 2018. A moderate but steady economic growth of 2.6 per cent is expected in 2019 and 2.7 per cent in 2020.

About the report

The report provides information about the recent economic history, as well as a two-year economic forecast, for seven featured cities: Sault Ste. Marie, Brandon, Moose Jaw, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Chilliwack, and Prince George.

Report Highlights

Sault Ste. Marie

  • Following several years of strong growth, employment is forecast to ease in 2019, before rising again next year.
  • Sault Ste. Marie’s population is expected to receive a boost next year from a federal pilot program aimed at increasing immigration.


  • Brandon’s real GDP is expected to rise by 1.5 per cent in both 2019 and 2020, a similar performance to last year’s 1.6 per cent gain.

Moose Jaw

  • The labour force has grown over the past three years, but it is expected to fall this year before rising again in 2020. As a result, we expect the unemployment rate to average 5.8 per cent this year, down from last year’s 6.1 per cent average rate. The jobless rate will fall further to 5.6 per cent next year.


  • Lethbridge’s economy has fired on all cylinders over the past two years, expanding by 5.8 per cent in 2017 and by 5.1 per cent in 2018, but economic growth will moderate to a still healthy 2.6 per cent in 2019 and 2.7 per cent in 2020.

Red Deer

  • Red Deer’s labour market disappointed last year, as employment increased by a meagre 0.2 per cent. Improvement is occurring this year and poised to continue, with the anticipated creation of over 1,500 net new jobs in 2019–20.


  • The jobless rate will edge up from 4.2 per cent in 2018 to 4.5 per cent this year, then ease to 4.4 per cent in 2020.


This report also includes a summary of the Conference Board’s economic forecasts for Canada and for each of the provinces that is home to the seven featured cities.




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Media contact:

Michelle Rozon | Erin R. Brophy

The Conference Board of Canada 


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