Stephen Gordon’s posts on the recent employment performance in Quebec gave me cause to get the numbers on employment growth over the long term on a provincial basis. I obtained the seasonally adjusted Statistics Canada employment numbers and used them to construct average annual growth rates in employment by province for three periods: 2001-2011, 1991-2000 and 1981-1990 (Figs1-3). Over the last decade, the top three provincial performers in terms of average annual employment growth rates have been Alberta, BC and Quebec – with Ontario in fourth place.
(This post was written by Livio Di Matteo.)
Quebec over the course of three decades appears to have greatly improved its employment growth rate performance relative to the other provinces but overall did not grow its employment as fast as the West which is why its national employment share has declined over time (See Fig 4). The Atlantic provinces have also seen their share of national employment decline. Ontario has also dropped in relative performance over the last thirty years but has managed to grow fast enough in its employment numbers to approximately maintain its employment share. The West has seen its employment share rise. British Columbia, in particular, has been able to maintain a strong performance always managing to finish in second place - after Ontario in the 1980s and Alberta since the 1990s. I was a bit surprised to see this as I had been under the impression that BC was not doing as well in particular because of weak forest sector and resource performance. It would appear that there have been compensations for this. As for the rest of the west, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been the weaker performers when it comes to employment growth. If you just consider the period since 2001, the West has been particularly strong as its employment share rises during this period while that of Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces declines. Go west is definitely the right adage for job seekers.