Data and trends with Tomas

Tomas Nilsson

The unique blend of data scientist, economist, and Swedish dairy farmer all rolled into regular updates on our region, economics, and trends. Keep checking back for this regularly updated blog by our own Tomas Nilsson, PhD. and bite-sized essayist.

Tomas Nilsson
Tomas Nilsson, Director, Research and Market Intelligence

Sept. 12, 2019 @ 9:15 am

According to a new report by Statistics Canada, the foreign-controlled share of (all) Canadian assets were 15.9% in 2017. The share of operating revenues in the same year was 27.5%.

In the non-financial industries, the share of assets under foreign control was 24.1%; share of operating revenue 29.1%.

Chinese controlled enterprises in the non-financial sector surpassed the share of non-financial assets of Japanese controlled enterprises for the first time in 2016 and maintained their position in 2017. Shares for Chinese controlled enterprises were 4.3% while those for the Japanese controlled ones were 4.2%.

The share of foreign-controlled assets in the oil and gas industry was 40.1% in 2017.

In the finance and insurance industries, the foreign-controlled share of assets was 9.6%.

Enterprises controlled from the United States maintained the largest overall share of foreign-controlled assets in Canada (50.9%), followed by the United Kingdom (10.8%) and Japan (5.8%).

To read more about how foreign-controlled enterprises have changed over time in Canada, as well as more sector in-depth analysis, go to https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/61-220-x/61-220-x2017001-eng.htm

Sept. 11, 2019 @ 8:04 am

Current labour market condition in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region

Population in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region rose by 2.2% year over year from August 2018 to August 2019, and reached 1,187,000 people in August. Note that this figure include people aged 15 and above. The labour force rose only by 0.7% over the same period and now is 859,200 people. The unemployment rate has been rising since November 2018 and reached 7.4% in August (source: Statistics Canada Labour Market Indicators, July 2019).

International trade and investment

In this section, we will present two new cool trade tools that may be of interest to marketers and analyst.

The first tool is a product by the Canada Business Network and the International Trade Centre. The information is being used by marketers and analysts to understand new and emerging opportunities for Canadian exporters. The tool is freely available following registration.

The strength of the tool is that it can present information in a visually appealing manner. An example is provided in the figure below.

The grey circle refer to Canada’s total export as a share of global trade, which in 2018 was equal to 3%.

The countries in the figure refer to Canada’s ten largest markets (in terms of Canadian merchandise exports).

The blue circles refer to importing countries for which over the four year period, 2014 to 2018, the Canadian market share has been rising. That is, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the Republic of Korea increased their imports of Canadian merchandise at a higher rate than imports from other countries.

The countries in the yellow circles are countries for which Canadian imports rose at a slower rate, or declined, than total imports. The countries are (in alphabetical order) Hong Kong, India, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The horizontal line (at 2%) relate to the annual growth in world trade for the 2014 to 2018 period. Growth of imports by Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Japan, and the Republic of Korea was less than 2% for this period. These countries are what ITC refers to as “declining markets”.

For countries at or above the line, their imports rose at a higher rate. The dynamic markets, for which also Canadian products gained market share include China, Germany and Mexico.

Figure 1. Trade Map – Canada. Canadian international trade, 2014 to 2018 (source: ITC and Canada Business Network).

On September 4, 2019, Statistics Canada published a data visualization tool that allows users to monitor and analyze trade flows, at the provincial level. The most recent data is for the year 2018.

Figure 2. Alberta International Trade Footprint. 2018 (source: Statistics Canada The International Trade Explorer, 2018).

Here are some highlights for Alberta (source: Statistics Canada The International Trade Explorer, 2018) :

  • The value of total merchandise export from Alberta in 2018 was over $117 billion.
  • More than $1 in $5 of Canadian export, are from businesses located in Alberta.
  • Overall, Alberta’s top-4 target markets are the U.S. ($103.2 billion), China ($5.1 billion), Japan ($2 billion) and Mexico ($1.2 billion).
  • The four largest product categories are energy products ($83.6 billion), chemicals ($9.2 billion), food products ($8 billion), and forestry products ($4.8 billion).

The third-largest product category for Alberta in 2018 was food products (farm, fishing and intermediate food products). The almost equivalent product category (but not exactly the same) in the International Trade Centre is “meat and edible meat offal”. There were 20 companies from Calgary and Edmonton that exported meat and edible meat offal from Alberta, employing more than 5,200 workers.

Table 1. Exporting companies in Canada (Calgary and Edmonton) for meat and edible meat offal.

City     Employees No. of companies
Calgary            2,256 13
Edmonton            3,018 8

Source: ITC and Canada Business Network.

Sept. 6, 2019 @ 5:01 pm

Economic news for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, June to August 2019

I suspect dear reader, you will want to curl up by a fire, possibly with a glass of wine, and spend part of your Friday evening embracing the latest data on our region. With that in mind, here we present a summary of economic and financial news that may be of relevance to you our online followers. All information is extracted public sources including Statistics Canada, Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and other online publications.

Financial market news

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of oil, often a world reference price quoted in the media, averaged US$57.35 a barrel in July 2019, 18.9% lower than it was a year earlier. Western Canada Select (WCS), the price obtained for many Alberta producers of oil, averaged US$44.70 a barrel in July 2019, 15.4 % lower than it was a year earlier. The differential of WTI over WCS was US$12.65 in July 2019 (source: Government of Alberta, Economic Highlights for the Week of August 26).

Construction and Building Sector in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region

According to Statistics Canada, building permits data are used as a leading indicator of activity in the construction industry (source: Statistics Canada).

In June 2019, the value of residential and non-residential building permits issued by the municipalities in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region was $331 million. This is almost a reduction by half compared to the same month one year ago (June 2018, $617 million). The number of building permits decreased as well, from 1,787 in June 2018, to 1,114 in June 2019. However on the bright side the number of non-residential building permits almost doubled compared to the same period one year ago, from 123 in June 2018 to 229 in June 2019 (source: Statistics Canada).

Construction union wage rates in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region for carpenters, plumbers, and heavy equipment operators rose by 0.8 percent from July 2018 to July 2019. The construction union wage rate (including selected pay supplements) in July 2019 was $55.29 for carpenter, $60.37 for plumber, and $54.43 for heavy equipment operators (source: Statistics Canada Table 18-10-0139-02 Construction union wage rates).

Highway 15 Twinning: Plans call for the twinning of Highway 15 bridge near Fort Saskatchewan, along with intersection improvements at Highway 37, and Highway 825. Project is projected to cost up to $200M. Construction has commenced in the summer of 2019 (source: Government of Alberta, Economic Highlights for the Week of August 26). 

The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Hotel in Edmonton is delaying a makeover of the Confederation Lounge to March 2020. The lounge renovation is part of a $22M project that will include upgrades to the guest rooms, meeting areas and the Harvest Room restaurant (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News, | original source). 

The new $2.3M six-bed Stollery neonatal intensive care unit is set to open this fall at Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert. A further $2.5M is being fundraised by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for state of the art equipment for the unit. (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News | original source).

Construction has started on the $15M Roozen Family Hospice Centre in Edmonton. The facility will feature 12 private palliative suites, family spaces, a courtyard and is scheduled to open at the end of 2020 (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News | original source). 

Energy sector

Oil production in the province expanded sharply last year, due in large part to the completion of Suncor Energy’s huge new Fort Hills oilsands mine. As a result, 2018 was officially the year in which oil production in Alberta exceeded pipeline take away capacity. While oil is extracted in every corner of the province, the oilsands region produces by far the largest share, 84% in June 2019 (source: Government of Canada Labour Market Bulletin – Alberta: July 2019 | original source The Government of Alberta’s Economic Dashboard, Oil production as of June 2019. Published August 2, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019).

A new report from accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP estimates that investments in the Heartland region support 31,570 full-time equivalent jobs and produce $5.2B in gross domestic product and output nationally (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News | original source, Edmonton Journal).

Retail and Services in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region

The value of retail sales in the increased to $2.4 billion in June 2019, compared to $1.8 billion in January 2019 (note the figures are unadjusted for seasonality) (source Statistics Canada Table  20-10-0008-01, Retail trade sales).

The JW Marriott Hotel and Residences in the Ice District in downtown Edmonton has officially opened (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News | original source).

Jollibee Food Corp., the Filipino fast-food chain, has opened in Edmonton. Jollibee opened its first Canadian restaurant in Winnipeg in 2016 with plans to open 100 stores in Canada within the next five years (source: Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News).

The University of Alberta is receiving more than $2.2M for 10 research infrastructure projects that will, among other things, ensure food safety, improve end-of-life care for patients, reclaim mining sites and reduce air pollution (source: Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News). 

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has approved 254 licensed cannabis stores in total in the province to date. AGCL has an additional 491 individual store applications in the approval process (quoted in Government of Canada Job Market Trends and News | original source). 

Government

The Government of Alberta announced on August 20th that the oil production limit has been extended to December 31st, 2020, with possible earlier termination. The Government said this limit will be adjusted to better match export capacity. The Government also announced that monthly production limits for raw crude and bitumen are set at 3.76 million barrels per day for September 2019 and 3.79 million barrels per day for October 2019 (obtained from Statistics Canada Canadian Economic News, August 2019 edition | original source Government of Alberta, Oil production limit).

On Tuesday September 2, 2019, Government of Alberta released the blue ribbon panel report. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s specially appointed budget task force is recommending cutting spending on health care and education to help balance the province’s books (source: Bloomberg, Alberta Budget Panel Targets Education, Health Care for Cuts | Government of Alberta, MacKinnon Report on Alberta’s Finances).

Have a wonderful evening everyone.

August 30 @ 9:54 am

Number of crop production businesses in Alberta

Alberta’s agriculture sector is an important economic sector for Alberta and Canada. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the agribusiness sector accounted for more than 6% of Canada’s total GDP in 2016.

  • As of June 2019, there were more than 3,000 businesses in Alberta’s crop production sector.
  • More than 80% or 2,146 businesses of all crop production businesses in Alberta are micro-businesses, meaning they had 1 to 4 employees. In terms of national importance, 17% of national micro-businesses in the crop production sector were located in Alberta.
  • The figure below presents the size distribution of crop production businesses. The size of the bars refers to the proportion of companies in Canada that are located here in Alberta.
  • The number below refers to the number of crop production businesses in Alberta as of June 2019.
  • The size category is adopted from Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s Canadian industry statistics data portal. The data on business counts by employment size is from Statistics Canada’s business counts publication, June 2019 edition.

Alberta crop production outlook

  • The current version of the crop production outlook is based on a survey of more than 13,000 farmers across Canada.
  • The 2019 spring wheat production estimate is 9.3 million metric tonnes, up by 539,000 metric tonnes since 2018.
  • Of the three largest principal field crops, only canola production is lower this year by over 554,000 metric tonnes since 2018, and down by over 1.5 million metric tonnes from the peak in 2017.
  • Comparing year over year, the 2019 barley harvest is expected to rise the most (in terms of production), by 808,000 metric tonnes to over 4.8 million metric tonnes.

A map of the vegetation growth index is included below. The index shows crop conditions in the week of July 15, 2019 compared with the week of July 1, 2019.

The map shows that crop conditions were higher for central Alberta, most of Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba, and remained similar for southern Alberta and the northern part of Manitoba.

July 26 @ 2:12 pm

Today, I’m providing a quick-ish primer on understanding Canadian labour markets and a few insights into the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s trends.

Canadian labour market analysts rely primarily on two Statistics Canada surveys.

The Labour Force Survey is one of Statistics Canada flagship product. In common vernacular, it is referred for short as the LFS. The LFS reports monthly on the unemployment rate, labour force participation rate, and the employment rate at the national, provincial and regional level. The LFS is a household-level survey, meaning that individuals report on their employment situation directly to Statistics Canada.

The second survey is the Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours, affectionally known as the SEPH. SEPH presents a more in-depth look at the performance of specific industries (except for agriculture). The SEPH is an institutional survey, so employers submit information on their employees to Statistics Canada. Additionally, one person can be employed by several employers in the same period, so the totals may differ between LFS and SEPH. Over longer periods of time though, the LFS and SEPH trend in the same direction. As the data collection and processing time for SEPH takes a longer time, the current SEPH data refers to the month before the LFS month.

Earlier this week, Statistics Canada released the May 2019 employment statistics from the SEPH.

Headline numbers for Alberta, for May 2019:

  • On average, wages are up by 3.0% (compared to the same time last year). This is lower than the national increase (3.4%) but still high.
  • As of May 2019, there are 1,996,000 jobs in Alberta.

According to the LFS, there were 796,400 employed in the Edmonton CMA in May 2019, and 873,600 employed in the Calgary CMA.

  • From a sectoral perspective, wages rose (year over year) in the following sectors: Administrative and support services; accommodation and food services; wholesale trade; education; professional, scientific and technical services; public administration; and retail and construction sector.
  • Wages declined in manufacturing; and health care and social assistance

The chart below plots year over year earnings change, in percent, by sector, for Alberta.

From September 2009 until September 2014, Alberta added more than 4,500 jobs per month. From September 2014 to the same month in 2016, Alberta lost 1,800 jobs per month. Net job growth has been somewhat muted since, adding only 2,300 jobs monthly from September 2016 to May 2019.

The story for earnings is a bit more complex. When jobs are lost in an economy, it is natural to expect earnings to fall.

However, although there have been net job gains in the Alberta economy since 2016, the earnings growth has been relatively sluggish (up until the spring of this year). Some of the drivers of this pattern include changing industry structure – the economy kept on adding jobs but the earnings for the jobs that were lost in the 2014 to 2016 period were better paid.

Additionally, the type of occupations in an industry might have changed, where junior-level positions are created at a higher rate than more senior positions. Subsequent blog posts may take more of an in-depth look at the Alberta labour market performance, particularly as it relates to employment by industry, occupation and tenure.

July 24 @ 4:33 pm

(revised July 25 @ 8:14 am to add charts and a bit more colour, who doesn’t love a little colour?)

Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is the value of products and services produced by the economy over a one-year period. In common parlance, GDP is often used as a measure for economic growth. Over longer periods, a healthy economy would translate into higher GDP.

GDP is an economic accounting concept, and as such it also represents the value generated to workers (in terms of labour income) and business profits (in finance terms, earnings before interest, taxes less subsidies, depreciation, amortization, and royalty payments or EBITDA for short). Because it is such a complex process to produce estimates for GDP, the data is released with a significant time lag.

Statistics Canada released new data on GDP by Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) for the 2009 to 2015 period. With this information (Table no. 36-10-0468-01), and Table no. 36-10-0423-01, it is possible to study the performance of regional economies over 15 years, from 2001 to 2015.

Before looking at these data, let’s first look at the economic performance of the national and provincial economy over the 14 year period 2001 to 2015.

The dotted horizontal lines represent average annual growth for Canada (red dotted) and Alberta (blue dotted line). The bars represent the year over year change in real GDP.

From 2001 to 2015, the national economy expanded at an average of 2.0% annually, whereas in Alberta economic output rose by 3.1%. Not only was Alberta’s GDP growth higher on average than Canada’s; it was also much more volatile (in terms of year-over-year change): Alberta’s economy expanded by an astounding 6.7% in ’10-’11, and declined by 5.3% in the ’08-’09 recession.

Moreover, Alberta’s annual growth exceeded that of Canada for 11 out of 14 years. The Canadian economy did not expand at all in 2015, due to the severe downturn that happened here in Alberta. 

The colour coding scheme is the same as for the chart above with one addition. The GDP for the Edmonton CMA is presented in the yellow bar (annual change) and yellow dotted line (yearly average change from 2001 to 2015).

However, there is one key difference between the data that is underlying this figure, and the GDP estimates for the CMA areas. In the figure above, the national and provincial GDP estimates are presented in chained 2012 dollars, commonly referred to as real GDP or adjusted numbers for inflation. The data series on GDP by CMA is not presented in chained 2012 dollars. So the reader should be cautioned that the annual change in nominal GDP is not always ideal (or easy for the reader to understand).

In nominal terms, Canada’s economy expanded on average by 4.3% annually from 2001 to 2015. Compare this figure to an average annual real growth of 2.0 percent, meaning that the national inflation rate averaged 2.3 percent (4.3% less 2.0%).

Moreover, the economy in the Edmonton CMA expanded at a much higher average rate than the nation and the province: 6.7% for the Edmonton CMA, 5.4% for Alberta, and 4.3% for Canada. This means that over time, the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area has become increasingly important to the national (and provincial) economy.

What is the economic position of Edmonton CMA relative to the other CMAs in the country? Over the last ten years, the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area is Canada’s fifth-largest regional economy, after Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. This should not be a surprise to our blog followers, Alberta is the fastest growing geographic area in North America, and with some of the highest incomes in the country.

And there is some not-so-good news here too. From 2014 to 2015, Canada’s economy shrunk in nominal terms by 1%, whereas Alberta’s economy contracted by a staggering 15% year-over-year. The economy in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region declined as well, by 3%, so not as much as Alberta’s overall economy. A big explainer why the Edmonton CMA did not suffer as much during this period, is that several construction projects were underway as the oil markets were unravelling, and a relatively sizeable public sector in the region.   

As an aside, for those of us (you, dear reader!) that remember our intro Econ 101 class, GDP is almost the same as Producer Surplus (that triangular area above the supply curve and below the market price). While it may seem trivial, GDP is but one indicator of the level of societal well-being. As you may recall from your Econ 101 class, economists are concerned with Total Surplus, which is the sum of Producer Surplus and Consumer Surplus. Therefore, GDP is not an all-encompassing measure of the state of a region.

In subsequent updates to this blog, we will present estimates of inflation-adjusted figures for GDP for the Edmonton CMA and look at how they compare to the figures above. Before the end of the summer, we will also look at some of the economic forecasts for the region, the province and the country as a whole. So stay tuned!

July 22 @ 2:34 pm

Businesses in Alberta – An Overview

This blog post gives a brief status update on the performance of Alberta’s business sector.

The corporate tax is now 26%

Incorporated businesses saw their income tax rate lowered by one percentage point to 26% on July 1st this year. The provincial rate was lowered from 12% to 11%. The federal rate is 15%. The provincial government announced the corporate tax rate will be lowered to 8% by January 1, 2022. Small businesses with incomes below $500,000 pay a lower federal and provincial tax rate.

The tax reduction will benefit corporations doing business in Alberta. There were over 175,000 businesses operating in Alberta (with employees), according to the most recent statistics published by Statistics Canada (the data refers to December 2018).

Finance and insurance, manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors are large sources of tax revenue for the government

The three largest sectors in terms of tax revenues, were finance and insurance (23% of Alberta’s corporate income tax revenue are from incorporated businesses operating in this sector), manufacturing (19%), and wholesale trade (13%). Corporations in these three sectors generated more than $2 billion in annual taxes to provincial coffers. These figures are from the Alberta Government Open Data portal.

In terms of decadal growth, from the fiscal year 2008/09 to 2017/18, provincial corporate tax revenues from finance and insurance corporations rose the fastest (14% annual growth), followed by corporations in health care and social assistance (12% annual growth), and wholesale trade (6% annual growth).

Not all businesses in Alberta are incorporated

Not all businesses are organized as corporations, however. Moreover, not all corporations are publicly traded and instead privately held.

While as there are no public figures on the number of private corporations in Alberta, the Alberta government publish monthly data on new incorporations. According to the Economic Dashboard, 24,202 businesses incorporated during the period January to June 2019 in Alberta with their headquarters in this province. Additionally,  2,859 businesses registered their corporations with their headquarters outside Alberta. A listing of corporations that are created every month, can be found on the Alberta Gazette website.

There are 345 corporations on the TSX and Venture Exchange that list their headquarters in Alberta

Detailed information on public corporations in Alberta trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange is publicly available from the Toronto Stock Exchange. As of June 30, there were 345 corporations headquartered in Alberta with a combined market capitalization value of over $562.1 billion.

Drilling down further, on the Toronto Stock Exchange, there are 141 corporations with their headquarters location in Alberta. Note that this list of 141 corporations does not include businesses that trade securities or funds (ETP closed-ended funds in the finance vernacular).

The largest sectors in Alberta are utilities and pipelines, oil and gas extraction, and industrial products and services

The four largest industries in Alberta in terms of market capitalization (on the Toronto Stock Exchange) are transportation, warehousing and storage ($157 billion), utilities ($123 billion), and mining, quarrying and oil & gas extraction ($120 billion), and manufacturing ($108 billion).

Data source: TSX

Coincidentally (or not), the largest sectors in Alberta are also among the most significant generators for the provincial government in terms of corporate income tax revenues. As the global economy continues to evolve, regional businesses will adapt and change to take advantage of new opportunities by providing new and services to existing and new customers. As companies become successful on the international stage, there is a (positive) impact on government revenues.

Select key performance indicators for business sectors in Alberta:

NAICS Sector Number of businesses (Dec 2018) No of companies HQ in Alberta (and listed on TSX) Market capitalization of public entities ($M, June 30, 2019) Provincial CIT revenues ($M, FYI 2017-18)
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 6,000 1 $124 $83.20
21 Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 5,114 78 $120,662 -$81.77
22 Utilities 338 7 $123,429 $0.95
23 Construction 22,467 3 $775 $295.03
31-33 Manufacturing 4,982 13 $108,950 $695.99
41 Wholesale Trade 7,187 2 $6,257 $479.94
44-45 Retail Trade 17,545 2 $614 $215.14
48-49 Transportation, Warehousing and Storage 9,373 10 $157,194 $176.15
51 Information and Cultural Industries 1,740 1 $584 $86.84
52 Finance and Insurance 5,553 3 $3,760 $851.87
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 7,058 5 $4,531 $308.46
54 Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 24,473 4 $4,307 $197.35
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises 1,058 1 $3 $70.54
56 Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services 7,595     $62.87
61 Educational Services 1,880     $4.39
62 Health Care and Social Assistance 14,287     $159.49
71 Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 1,918     $5.77
72 Accommodation and Food Services 9,845 1 $235 $42.80
81 Other Services 15,540 1 $424 $64.32
91 Public Administration 724     $0.16
N/A (not classified) 10,669 9 $22,318 $27.76
TOTAL 164,677 132 $531,848 $3,747

Data sources: Alberta Government Open Data, Statistics Canada, and TSX

July 12, 2019 @ 11:50 am (minor edits July 13 @ 10:43 am)

The value of data in Canada: $9.4 to $14.2 billion

Statistics Canada published results from a brand new survey in July 2019. One key finding from that survey, is that Canadian businesses invested between $9.4 and $14.2 billion in creating data in 2018. Statistics Canada notes that “the value of data is estimated with reference to the labour costs incurred in their production plus associated non-direct labour and other costs.”

Another related Statistics Canada survey provides insights into the adoption rate of digital technologies. The Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy compared business use of emerging and advanced technologies across industries. The most recent survey refers to the year 2017.

The results from the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy show that:

  • More than 1 in 5 of surveyed businesses used business intelligence technologies. However, the adoption rate varies across the sector: the proportion of firms using business intelligence technologies in the information and cultural industries is almost twice as it, at 47%, followed by finance and insurance at 43.7%.
  • Of all firms surveyed, 4% use Artificial Intelligence technologies. The adoption rate of AI technologies is most prevalent among businesses operating in finance and insurance, and information and cultural industries.

There are several large financial institutions in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. A profile of the larger financial institutions in the region (ATB Financial, Canadian Western Bank, and Servus Credit Union), are listed on our leading employers page.

The Artificial Intelligence is rapidly evolving field. Take for example patent filings: 1,200 patents were filed in 2017 with the name “Artificial Intelligence” in the cover page of the application form. Fast forward two years later: In 2019, year to date, more than 1,700 AI patents have been filed.  The number of AI related companies in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is growing as well. As of July 2019, Crunchbase tracks six local AI companies that were recently funded, or provided funding to other companies. The Canadian AI Ecosystem 2018 identifies more than a dozen AI startups in Edmonton.

Moreover, Bloomberg and the Data Centre Map, 3 of Canada’s 170 publicly listed data centres are located in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

On a related note, Bloomberg also tracks publicly traded companies that are exposed to 5G including carriers, equipment makers and network operators. Of the 80 companies, 7 are headquartered in Canada: BCE Inc., Telus, Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., EXFO Inc., Sierra Wireless Inc., and Blackberry Ltd. Although not headquartered in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, a number of these companies have a significant regional presence.  

The newly released Statistics Canada study identifies critical occupations that are associated with data value creation. The most substantial annual investment in data is made by professionals in “other customer and information services representatives”, generating $3.6 billion to $6 billion of the value. From a regional perspective, 12,400 people work in this occupation in Alberta, and 4,830 people in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

What about the talent pipeline? From 2012 to 2018, more than 57,500 people graduated from publicly funded-post secondary institutions within Alberta in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (sort by 2-digit CIP code and select codes 11, 14, 15, 26, 27, 40, 41 and 48).

The Edmonton Global team can provide more information on trends and opportunities in this market. If we cannot help, we will put you in contact with our many partners that operate in 5G, AI, data, finance, and information sectors. 

July 10, 2019 @ 11:14 am

$362.6 million. That is the total value of building permits issued across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, for the month of May 2019. The estimates are corrected for seasonality. By type of structure, the value of residential building permits is $211.2 million and non-residential $151.3 million (note the figures may not add due to rounding).

Compared to the same month last year, May 2018, the total value is $79 million lower, mainly because of lower non-residential value ($75 million). Compared to the same month five years ago, May 2014, the value of residential permits is $72 million lower, and $55 million lower for non-residential.

So over the five years May 2014 to May 2019, the values of residential and non-residential permits have been trending downwards. Except for two spikes in 2016 (January and October), the value of non-residential permits in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has been declining by approximately $11 million per year.

Value of building permits, May ’14 to May ’19, for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

Graph built from data available through Statistics Canada. 
Table  34-10-0066-01   Building permits, by type of structure and type of work (x 1,000)

Statistics Canada does not publish data on the type of building permit issued at the regional level, e.g. the type of non-residential structure such as major and minor commercial and industrial projects. So it is currently not possible to tell whether the value of permits is caused by a smaller number of industrial and commercial projects or if the value of projects has been decreasing, or both.

However, there are several projects on the go in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. According to the Alberta Government Major Projects site, which lists public and private projects valued over $5 million, there are more than 90 projects on the go in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. These projects are currently underway, and scheduled to commence in the 2019 to 2025 period.

July 5, 2019 @ 9:52 am

New information on Canada’s labour market was released today by Statistics Canada.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate as of June 2019 for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region (Census Metropolitan Region) stood at 7.0%. The rate changed little from last month May 2019, and is slightly up than a year ago, June 2018.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is Canada’s fifth largest economy with a labour force of over 856,000 people. The participation rate in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the third highest in the country, however.  The participation rate is the number of people in the labour force as a share of total population 15 years of age and over). In the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, the participation rate is 72.4%. That is out of 1,000 persons (age 15 and over), 724 were in the labour force in June 2019.

More detailed information on Canada, Alberta and Edmonton’s labour markets can be found on Statistics Canada Labour Market Indicators visualization page, and key labour market events are reported on Canada’s Job Bank Job Market Trends and News site.

July 4, 2019 @ 8:03 am

The corporate tax rate for businesses operating in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and across Alberta is the lowest in Canada.  

Public and private corporations in Alberta pay corporate income taxes, levied by the federal government and the provincial government.

As of July 1, 2019,  the federal rate is 15% and the provincial rate 11%. The combined corporate tax rate is thus 26%.

According to those in the know, the corporate tax rate in Alberta is now the lowest rate in Canada.

Going forward, the provincial government plans to reduce the provincial tax rate incrementally, so that by 2022, the provincial rate reaches 8%. That is, by 2022, the combined federal and provincial corporate tax rate would be 23% (assuming the federal rate does not change). 

Businesses in Alberta with incomes below $500,000 can access the small business deduction. More information on this and other corporate topics are available from the Canadian government , and the Alberta government.

July 3, 2019 @ 3:35 pm

** Hot off the press**

On July 3, 2019, the Alberta government released new population projections for the period 2019 to 2046. These are projections and not forecasts. Here are some highlights of the report.

Alberta was the youngest province in 2017. However, its population is aging due to below replacement fertility and rising life expectancy. Despite the anticipated addition of a substantial number of young people through migration, population aging is expected to continue over the projection period. In 2017, the average age of individuals in the province was 37.9 years and is projected to climb to 41.6 by 2046 (page 2/12). 

From 2019 to 2046, Alberta’s population is projected to grow by 1.4 percent annually. The strongest population growth is projected to occur in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor over the 2019 to 2046 period. 

The report note that regions with more employment and educational opportunities tend to attract more migrants. Based on past trends, of the almost 1.5 million net migrants moving to Alberta over the next 28 years, 84.1% are expected to settle in the two major urban centers.

At the regional level, the geography in the report that most closely corresponds to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is Census Division no. 11. 

In 2018, more than 1.46 million people were living in Census Division 11. From 1996 to 2018, the region added more than 24,600 people annually through birth and in-migration. 

Between 2019 to 2046, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is projected to increase by over 30,000 people per year, and reach over 2.3 million in 2046. 

The Alberta population projections from 2019 to 2046 are available on the Alberta Government Open Government portal.

July 3, 2019 @ 3:11 pm

Author’s note: Feel free to edit for clarity and sassiness
Editor’s note: Tomas, next time more sass

ICYMI:

  • Currently, 33 organizations have their head office in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, employ combined more than 302,000 people.
  • Twenty-two (22) companies are investor-owned-firms (profit companies that are not in public administration or operated as a not-for-profit) employ more than 96,700 people.
  • The 22 companies operate in 22 different industry segments.
  • The four largest industries, which are architecture & engineering, banking, food & drug stores, and facilities services, employ 67,600 people. 
  • The largest industry segment is architecture and engineering, which employs 38,000 people.
  • The sector with the largest number of firms is the banking sector, which employs 10,100 people (ATB Financial, Canadian Western Bank, and Servus Credit Union). 

The list of leading employers in the Edmonton Metropolitan region is available from our website – leading employers

Have any questions? Want your company added to the list of large employers in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region? Please let us know by sending us an email at info@edmontonglobal.ca

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