BMO: Let's Create 17,000 Jobs Together in Saskatoon and Regina

BMO: Let's Create 17,000 Jobs Together in Saskatoon and Regina 
- BMO releases report on outlook for economy, labour market and
housing market in Saskatoon and Regina  
- Cities performing well with excellent job prospects, above-average
wages and affordable housing  
- BMO open for business with $10 billion in available credit 
04/05/13 -- The next three years will bring 10,000 new jobs to
Saskatoon and 7,000 new jobs to Regina, according to a new report
released today by BMO Economics. 
The report on Saskatchewan's two biggest cities is the latest in a
series of economic, housing and business overviews for various cities
and regions across Canada that will be published by BMO throughout
this year. BMO released today's report in advance of its Annual
Meeting, which will take place in Saskatoon on Wednesday, April 10. 
"Saskatchewan remains among the top economic performers in Canada,
with strong resource-sector activity helping to maintain
above-average growth," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO
Capital Markets. "Real GDP is expected to grow 2.4 per cent this
year, well above the national figure of 1.5 per cent. The Saskatoon
and Regina economies continue to perform relatively well, with
Canadians drawn to the region's job prospects, above-average wages
and affordable housing." 
Employment growth remains solid in the province, rising nearly 4.4
per cent year-over-year in in Q1 2013, the fastest pace in Canada and
pulling the jobless rate below 4 per cent, the lowest in more than 4
years. "With more than half of the province's workforce, Saskatoon
and Regina are driving this trend, up 6.4 per cent year-over-year and
4.3 per cent year-over-year respectively and boosted by strong growth
in the resource, construction and trade sectors," noted Mr. Kavcic.
"Looking out over the medium term, Saskatoon and Regina will likely
see about 10,000 and 7,000 jobs created, respectively, by the end of
2016, pinning the unemployment rates close to 4 per cent." 
"Both Saskatoon and Regina are choice destinations, with local
businesses benefiting from the ongoing economic strength across the
province," said John MacAulay, Senior Vice-President, Prairies, BMO
Bank of Montreal. "With local businesses driving ahead and making
important investments in new equipment, expanding their operations
and hiring people, the best is yet to come in both cities. BMO is
open for business; we encourage businesses to get their share of the
$10 billion in credit BMO has made available, giving them access to
the capital they need to grow." 
The report, released today, revealed:  
Resource sector 

--  Oil production is now running at about 170,000 barrels per day, spurred
    on by activity in the Bakken, just south of Regina. 
--  While potash producers have scaled back output alongside weaker demand
    in China and India, the long-term prospects in the sector remain
    encouraging. BHP Billiton's $14 billion Jansen mine 140 km east of
    Saskatoon is expected to produce 8 million tonnes per year when


--  Residential construction is a major driver of growth, as homebuilders
    keep pace with a surging population. 
--  Non-residential activity is also firm; the combined value of non-
    residential permits in the two cities was $836 million in the 12 months
    through January, near the highest on record. One attention-grabbing
    project is a new $278 million stadium in Regina to house the
    Saskatchewan Roughriders, with related urban development expected to get
    underway later this year.

Housing Market 

--  Existing home sales were 25 per cent and 14 per cent below year-ago
    levels in Regina and Saskatoon, respectively, in the 3 months through
    February. That is a steeper decline than the 13.3 per cent drop seen
    nationally, but strong population growth trends are still keeping sales
    elevated by historical standards. 
--  In Saskatoon, sales volumes hit a record of nearly 5,500 units in 2012,
    and are about 25 per cent above the 10-year average despite the recent
--  At about 3.5 times median household income, prices in Regina and
    Saskatoon remain significantly cheaper than those in Canada's other
    major cities. With stable interest rates and more ample supply now on
    the market, affordability should remain reasonable in both cities. The
    Province's first-time homebuyers' tax credit of up to $1,100 is also
    helping new buyers.

The full report is available here:
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 $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more
than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of
retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and
News Media Contacts:
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(416) 867-3996 
Matt Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996 
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224 
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(604) 665-7596 
Twitter: @BMOmedia
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