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Westward flow from Saskatchewan continues

Westward flow from Saskatchewan continues

Posted on: 8/31/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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As is the case with many sibling relationships, the twin sisters of Confederation are prone to their competitive streaks. And when it comes to interprovincial migration, Alberta continues to hold the advantage over Saskatchewan.

In the first quarter of 2018, just under 3,000 people from Saskatchewan packed up and moved to Alberta. That was partially offset by some people moving in the opposite direction, but the net result was a gain of 1,304 people for Alberta. That's the second highest quarterly total over the last eight years (see graph).

The net in-flow from Saskatchewan appears to be picking up steam. In fact, only once during the last seven years did Alberta see a slight net out-migration. That happened in the second quarter of 2016, during the darkest days of Alberta’s recession. In that quarter, the flow of people across the Alberta-Saskatchewan border was virtually balanced.

The steady influx of people from Saskatchewan might be perplexing, given the severity of Alberta's recession. However, Saskatchewan’s job situation has actually been slower to recover than Alberta's, which helps explain Alberta's appeal.

Compared to a year ago, Alberta has added nearly 40,000 jobs, all of them full-time. Many of these jobs are lower paying and in different sectors than they were a few years ago. About 5,900 of the 40,000 jobs are in the public sector. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has continued to lose jobs. Total employment is down 0.1 per cent compared to twelve months ago.

Migration from Saskatchewan, graph

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