TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov 21, 2013) - The number of Canadians migrating between provinces has hit its highest level in almost a quarter century, with employment prospects the biggest driver, according to a new report released today from BMO Economics. The study ranks the attractiveness of Canada's regional labour markets as a destination, and looks at what's behind the movement of labour.
Regina tops a list of Canadian cities and regions for labour market attractiveness, followed by Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon. The ranking was developed by looking at income, job prospects, housing affordability and tax burden of 19 cities or regions across Canada.
"While there are winners and losers, a mobile labour force isn't necessarily a bad thing to the extent that resources are directed to where they are needed most," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.
"In terms of attractiveness as place to move for work, Regina and Calgary top the list, with the highest median levels of employment income, among the lowest jobless rates and relatively low tax burdens," stated Mr. Kavcic. "However, Regina's better housing affordability lifts the city into the top spot."
"Overall, a number of provinces are in a solid economic position and now is a good time for businesses to make long-term investments in their operations to position themselves for growth," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "According to our business outlook, the majority of entrepreneurs who plan to invest in their business in 2014 said they will put money toward upgrading equipment, with 46 per cent indicating they would invest in hiring more employees."
Mr. Kavcic noted that most migrants are headed to Alberta, where net inward migration has surged to more than 50,000 people over the past year, the highest on record and a hefty 1.3 per cent of the population. "Saskatchewan is attracting people as well, and while the inflows are proportionally less significant than in Alberta, it's a stark change after decades of outflows."
The BMO Economics report states that migrants are coming mainly from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Proportionally, however, the biggest drain is in Atlantic Canada, where combined annual outward migration has reached 11,000 people, or 0.5 per cent of the population.
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* Rent figures based on the average cost of a one bedroom apartment
The full report from BMO Economics is available upon request.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $549 billion as at July 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.