Monday, May 11, 2015

Ontario Silver Medal for Job Growth over 2013-17

Let's treat 2013 as the base year for comparison -- the last full year of the Parti Quebecois government in Quebec and last year that we could say that previous Premier Dalton McGuinty's policies were in effect in Ontario with current Premier Kathleen Wynne taking over in February 2013. Ontario ranks 2nd in job growth with 2013 as the base year averaging 1.1% over the 4 years to 2017 and Quebec ranks 3rd with 0.99% annual job growth when employment averaged for all 12 months of 2017 is compared with 2013.

All Atlantic provinces had fewer jobs in 2017 compared to 2013

British Columbia (BC) reigns supreme over this period averaging 2.15% annual job growth. There's more to political success than employment growth. The BC Liberal government was defeated in May 2017 in the midst of this provincial job boom.

Over a longer period, employment growing faster in Quebec than in Ontario is one of the little-noticed economic stories of this millenium. Quebec's annualized average job growth of 1.3% has exceeded Ontario at 1.2% (2017 vs. 2001). Quebec ranked 4th among the provinces over this period behind Alberta (2.15%), BC (1.6%) and Saskatchewan (1.3%). The 3 westernmost provinces benefited from the oil and gas boom until 2014.

Quebec's reputation as one of Canada's economic tortoises dates back to the last century. Quebec jobs rose at a 1.2% annualized rate over 25 years to 2001 from 1976 -- the year that the PQ was first elected. The PQ was in power for 16 years of this quarter-century period from 1976 to 2001. Quebec ranked 7th in Canada annualized average job growth. Alberta (2.6%), BC (2.4%) and Ontario (1.9%) were Canada's economic hares from 1976 to 2001.

Quebec's job growth history fits the tortoise vs. hare metaphor quite nicely. Quebec's job growth since 2001 has continued at about the same pace as the 1976-2001 period. But, Ontario, once one of Canada's economic hares, fell back behind Quebec's job growth pace.

Although the last 4 years mark a restoration of Ontario's superior job growth performance vs. Quebec, la belle province did take the bronze medal among 10 provinces in 2017 with 2.2% year-over-year job growth -- behind BC (3.7%) and Prince Edward Island (PEI at 3.1%). Ontario ranked 4th with 1.8% job growth in 2017. 

(Update may 2018) Employment data for the first 4 months of 2018 show PEI in front with 3% annual job growth vs. 2017. (Data not seasonally adjusted.) Alberta is in silver position at 2% with oil prices now higher than at any time since the recent 2014 peak. Quebec takes bronze at 1.96% with Ontario outside the 2018 medals in 4th at 1.7%. Newfoundland remains last with jobs down another -0.8% so far in 2018 as that province's economy continues to suffer from the double whammy of lower oil prices (since the recent highs of 2014) and a fiscal adjustment enforced by the bond market. 

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