Michael Kinar

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Business Edge 2009, The Canadian Press, 9 January 2009, http://www.businessedge.ca/article.cfm/newsID/19188.cfm

 

With all the doom and gloom dominating the headlines (mostly national and global stories), it is easy to miss all of the positive news in media.  Not surprisingly, a lot of that positive economic news focuses on Saskatchewan.  Following are excerpts from a recent Canadian Press article.

 

          People from every part of the country are flocking to the plain-vanilla, square-cornered province.

Employment is strong and a booming economy has made Saskatchewan a rags-to-riches story.  While economic storm clouds are raining bad news down upon the rest of the country, experts are confident that Saskatchewan will be a relative bright spot in 2009.

‘We still think it’s going to be the strongest province in the country over the next year,’ says Robert Kavic, an economic analyst with BMO Capital Markets.”

 

Like so many other recent articles and economic forecasts, the common thread continues to be that Saskatchewan will be the best place to be residing and doing business during these uncertain economic times.

 

          There‘s reason for optimism.

Statistics Canada figures show that Saskatchewan’s population growth in 2007-08 was the strongest since the early 1970’s.  For the first time, the province led the pack when it came to interprovincial migration.

It also had the lowest unemployment rate in all of Canada in November, with 14,800 more people working than in November 2007.

Sales of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights helped swell provincial coffers by a record $1.12 billion during the past year.”

 

It is unfortunate that stories of mine layoffs dominate the newspaper headlines.  Temporary layoffs have been common place at the mines as long as I can remember.  Meanwhile, every business owner or manager that I talk to keep citing their challenges in trying to keep their businesses fully staffed.  It truly is a time where jobs are plentiful, and the employees have the luxury of being somewhat picky in their job searches.

 

          The Conference Board of Canada forecasts that Saskatchewan will lead the country in economic growth in 2009.  In its autumn 2008 outlook, it said ‘Saskatchewan is in a league of its own; booming conditions are anticipated to persist well into 2009.’”

 

Even though there will be some bumps in the road along the way, I am excited about what 2009 will be bringing residents of Saskatchewan.  I hope to see a more positive outlook amongst people.  It surprises me to read the read the negativity some people express in places like The Star Phoenix reader’s forum and in comments of articles on the News Talk 650 website.  

 

          The icing on the cake is the $2.3 billion provincial budget surplus.  That extra cash gave Wall’s government room to make a significant income tax cut in the provincial debt by about 40 percent, to $4.2 billion.”

 

It will be interesting to see what the March provincial budget brings.  Depending on variables including the natural resource sector, we should gain insight as to how soon the province may be debt free.

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