There are a growing number of signs that the Saskatchewan’s economy is gaining momentum.
Over the past few months economists have been forecasting growth approaching two-percent this year. And as we look for signs of where that strength will come from, the manufacturing sector has become a significant contributor in giving those forecasts some credence.
The latest figures for this part of the economy come from March. Revenues for companies in this area once again surpassed the $1.3 billion mark for the month. That was 20-percent ahead of the level we saw in the same month a year ago.
That was the biggest improvement in the country and compares quite favorably to the 8-percent gain nationally.
The biggest movers in the country were transportation and the food industry.
These gains also led to growth in inventories as well as unfilled orders as output was falling behind the pace of growth on the demand side as customers were stepping up.
While much of the fall-out from the provincial budget has centred on government expenditures – notably cuts to lower levels of government – there are a few aspects to the provincial budget that are catching attention in other circles.
A case in point is the Sask Party’s new focus on innovation.
It caught the eye of the national accounting firm KPMG which put out a memo to its clients across the country flagging Saskatchewan’s innovation initiative.
The firm noted a couple new concepts. One is the so-called ‘patent box’ which is designed to encourage business to extend research in the province spawned from a patent. It includes an extended tax break to foster this type of innovation.
There’s also the introduction of a 10-percent refundable tax credit on the first $1 million of R&D done in the province. Any expenditures beyond that would be eligible for a non-refundable credit. This is especially important for start-ups who can get a cash pay-out rather than a tax credit if they don’t yet have revenue or taxable profits to offset the credit.