Employment growth in Canada has been particularly robust in the west and nowhere is this more evident than when examining recent employment growth amongst Canada’s CMAs.
However, as Figure 2 illustrates, when total employment is ranked by urban center, Toronto Montreal and Vancouver still vastly outrank the next largest CMA – Calgary –by a substantial amount. Canada’s three largest cities are still in a league of their own and while their employment may not be growing as fast as many other cities, they are so large that their share of total employment still dominates the Canadian economy.
As Figure 3 shows, the Big Three’s share of Canadian employment rose rapidly from 1997 to about 2002 and then leveled off until about 2008. Since 2008, their employment share has begun to trend upwards again (the trend is a 3rd order polynomial fit).
While the resource driven Prairie centers have seen extremely robust growth, over one third of Canada’s employment is still concentrated in these three largest cities making them the dominant urban economic engines of the country. Calgary and Edmonton on their own have yet to supersede Vancouver though when combined now generate more employment than Vancouver with 1.4 as opposed to 1.3 million jobs.