Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

We're No. 6 as destination for workers seeking jobs

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INTERPROVINCIAL migration by Canadian workers is at its highest level in nearly a quarter of a century and Winnipeg is well positioned to take advantage of that, according to a new Bank of Montreal report.

In a report titled: Canada's Labour Market: Where Have All the Good People Gone? BMO Economics ranks the attractiveness of 19 Canadian labour markets as a destination for job-seeking workers.

And it ranks Winnipeg sixth among the 19 cities/regions examined. The five ahead of it, in order, were Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Hamilton. Rounding out the top 10 were Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener, Ont.

Robert Kavcic, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said Winnipeg should be pleased with its showing.

"Sixth place is a great ranking, considering that four of the top six (cities) are in provinces experiencing commodity booms right now," he said.

The rankings were developed by looking at median income, job prospects, housing affordability and the tax burden in each of the 19 markets.

The report said Canada's economy continues to run at multiple speeds, with strong growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan in contrast to Quebec and Atlantic Canada, which are struggling to grow much more than 1.5 per cent.

"This might be most evident in the labour market, where part of the country is thirsty for skilled workers, while other regions grapple with double-digit jobless rates," it said. "This wide gap is driving interprovincial migration, and could have a ripple effect into areas such as housing, consumer spending and government finances."

The report said employment prospects are the biggest driver behind workers deciding to move to another province. Housing affordability and taxes also play an important role.

"In terms of attractiveness as a 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," Kavcic said.

-- Murray McNeill

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2013 B7

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