The regional disparities in Canada’s economy continue to widen, with resource-rich provinces outgrowing the rest of the country by leaps and bounds, new data from Statistics Canada shows.
StatsCan’s provincial and territorial accounts report, released Monday, provides the final, “official” numbers for provincial economic growth last year. And while western Canada largely dominated economic growth, the real pattern that emerged was somewhat different: Those that rely heavily on resources are now the “have” provinces, while those that rely on industry, agriculture or just about anything else, are becoming the “have not” provinces.
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Northwest Territories: -5.1%
The Northwest Territories were the only jurisdiction in Canada that saw a negative growth rate in 2011, largely due to a decline in diamond exports. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
New Brunswick: 0%
New Brunswick's economy flatlined in 2011 due to lacklustre business investment and a pull-back in government spending. Source: StatsCan Photo: Shutterstock
Nova Scotia: 0.5%
Business investment grew strongly but consumer spending was weak in Atlantic Canada's most populous province in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
Prince Edward Island: 1.6%
Business investment grew rapidly but foreign trade declined in Canada's smallest province in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Shutterstock
Canada's most populous province didn't grow as strongly in 2011 as it did in 2010, but a big jump in imports and exports helped to keep the province in positive territory. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press
Consumer spending helped keep Quebec afloat in 2011, despite a major slowdown in business investment into the housing sector. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
Heavy rains and flooding put a damper on economic growth in Manitoba in 2011, but the province still saw a significant increase in consumer demand. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
British Columbia: 2.8%
Business investment in housing in B.C. in 2011 grew at double the rate of 2010, helping the province to a solid economic performance. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press
Construction for the oil, gas and mining sectors boomed in Newfoundland in 2011, helping to propel the island to one of the higher growth rates seen among Canadian provinces. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
Nunvaut's 4.6 per cent growth rate in 2011 is nothing compared to its 16.6 per cent growth rate the year before, but the territory booming gold and silver mining sectors are still humming along nicely. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
Growing oil exports and a housing investment boom drove Saskatchewan's economy to an impressive growth rate in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
The fastest-growing province in Canada in 2011 saw its exports jump a formidable 9.2 per cent over the course of the year. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press
Yukon Territory: 6.5%
The Yukon hasn't been thought of as a boom region since the Gold Rush of the 19th century, but mineral exploration is still driving its economy today. At 6.5 per cent, the territory had the fastest economic growth in 2011 of any Canadian jurisdiction. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy
The fastest-growing economy last year belonged to the Yukon Territory, which clocked a 6.5-per-cent growth rate on the strength of mineral exploration, StatsCan reported, with exports jumping 22 per cent. But being north of 60 is no guarantee of economic success: The Northwest Territories clocked the worst economic performance in Canada last year, seeing its GDP shrink 5.1 per cent on weak diamond exports.
In the Maritimes, the fastest-growing economy by far was Newfoundland, whose offshore oil wealth is quickly transforming the province from one of Canada’s poorest to one of Canada’s richest — at least in terms of the economic data. The province still has the highest ratio of job seekers to jobs in the country, making it a poor place to look for work.
Not so with Alberta, which led economic growth in Western Canada last year, at 5.1 per cent. Saskatchewan came in second in the west, at 4.9 per cent. Both provinces benefited from strong energy exports, allowing them to nearly double the 2.6 per cent growth rate for Canada as a whole.
Some economists have begun to express concerns about the economic imbalances caused by a booming energy sector and have begun to lament the loss of economic diversity that is taking place as Canada’s manufacturing sector struggles to grow while energy exports continue to grow.
A recent analysis of StatsCan data by HuffPost Canada found that oil, gas and mining are now worth nearly as much to the Canadian economy as all of manufacturing.
In terms of the value of its output, Canada’s manufacturing sector has bounced back from a long period of decline following the 2008 financial crisis. But the bounce-back has not brought back all the jobs: Canada’s manufacturing sector produces roughly as much as it did before the economic crisis, but with 200,000 fewer workers.
Check out this chart showing how manufacturing has declined as oil, gas and mining grew over the past decade: