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Natural resources drive employment growth in Canadian cities

I was reading Wendy Waters’ All About Cities blog this morning and I came across the following charts showing employment growth across Canadian cities. The first chart shows total employment growth over the last year and the second chart shows employment growth over the past 10 years.

What is immediately obvious from these charts is that Calgary and Edmonton–both resource driven economies–have and are leading Canada in terms of employment growth.

Toronto isn’t that far behind though, particularly if you exclude manufacturing from the equation (see second chart). The decline of manufacturing in the Greater Toronto Area really represents a structural change in the economy.

I wanted to post these charts because, for all the talk about the rise of the information and digital age, Canada’s economy is still very much based on natural resources. We extract and sell. And we have one of the largest proven oil reserves in the world.

Now, I’m not opposed to this business model, but there’s lots of evidence out there to suggest that resource dependency ultimately hurts innovation and productivity–which makes sense. If we didn’t have resources, we’d be forced to figure out other ways to make money.

So while it’s great to see our cities growing, let’s not take it for granted. 

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