A booming potash industry is propelling an expected 6.3 per cent economic growth in Saskatchewan for 2010 — the strongest in the country, a report from the Royal Bank says.
The projected gross domestic product increase is also a lot higher than the 3.8 per cent RBC Economics had projected earlier this year.
"Potash production skyrocketed by 130 per cent in the first five months of the year, which is expected to make up for weakness in the oil and natural gas production sectors," the report released Friday said.
The Saskatchewan projection would have been higher than 6.3 per cent were it not for the weak agriculture sector, which has been hurt by wet weather, the report said.
The RBC provincial outlook came out the same day there was some other good economic news from Statistics Canada.
The latest figures from the federal agency show almost 13,800 more people are working now than a year ago. The province's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 4.8 per cent, the lowest in Canada. The national rate for the same month is 8.1 per cent.
"It's obviously very optimistic and we think it reflects and reinforces what's going on in the province," said Rob Norris, the minister responsible for employment.
"In recent days I've had an opportunity to be in Swift Current. I've had an opportunity to be in Saskatoon and Regina, not too long ago I was in Estevan and certainly there's a momentum that you can feel in the province. The job numbers today speak to that."
It's also good news that most of the new jobs are full-time, Norris said.
The Opposition NDP says while there is some good news, there are also some troubling numbers in the latest statistics.
"We can't lose focus of the many families who are struggling with unemployment," NDP MLA Cam Broten said. "There are over 32,000 individuals who are looking for work and unable to find jobs."