As we watch the population of Saskatchewan continue to grow, figuring out where people are coming from provides some interesting reading. It also provides some insight into urban growth, housing needs, consumer purchasing power and so on.
StatsCan has just released another round of information from the census and it shows we should probably say thank you to Alberta and Ontario. They’ve been sending us people…plenty of people.
We attracted about 1,300 from each of Calgary and Edmonton. And the rest of Alberta delivered another 3,600 folks.
Ontario produced more than 3,700 new Saskatchewan residents.
There was a fair bit of shifting around within the province too. Regina sent 830 people to Saskatoon while the Hub City saw 758 move to Regina. Both cities also sent big contingents to smaller centres: roughly 2400 relocated from Regina to non-metropolitan areas while nearly 3,600 left Saskatoon for similar destinations.
However, the flow towards the two main cities was even more dramatic with Regina attracting 3,500 and Saskatoon seeing 5,600 move in from outlying communities.
The value of farm assets in this province has topped the $100 billion mark for the first time.
StatsCan has just released a detailed analysis of balance sheets of Saskatchewan and Canadian farmers and the picture for this province is quite impressive. Normally we look at the income side of the financial statements: the price of crops and the volumes we sell. But this one is a little more strategic, looking at the worth of farms and their owners.
The valuations are to the end of 2015, just over a year ago and they show the value of all farm assets in Saskatchewan topped $100 billion for the first time. About two-thirds of that is land. And, interestingly, the level of debt associated with acquiring those assets is relatively modest with equity in farms now totalling more than $85 billion….more than four dollars of equity for every dollar of debt.
To help put this province’s agriculture sector into context, we account for roughly 20-percent of all the farm assets in the country and a comparable level of the equity.
The momentum underpinning the provincial economy is becoming more evident.
Recently we saw a report from the Conference Board projecting economic growth of just under one-percent in Saskatchewan this year. Now we have a projection from the economists at BMO Bank of Montreal that is even more upbeat.
This bank is forecasting growth of 1.6 percent this year and a further 1.9 percent next.
These figures seem to conflict with the messages flowing from the provincial government which is wrestling with its deficit. To hear them, you’d think the economy was reliving the Dirty 30s.
However, it’s important to remember the government is not the economy. It is simply a mirror of what’s going on the private sector which is taxed by government. The government numbers show that things were tough a year or two back. After we file our tax returns it takes about a year for that information to show up in the government books. The more upbeat numbers we’re seeing now show up in the budget in a year or two.