Edmonton

2012 could be record-setting year for Alberta migration

Figures from Statistics Canada show a net number of 56,000 people moved to Alberta in the first three quarters of 2012, which suggests that a new record could be set once the remaining numbers come in.
Ronald Smith moved from Florida to take a job with Stantec in Edmonton. (CBC)

Figures from Statistics Canada show a net number of 56,000 people moved to Alberta in the first three quarters of 2012, which suggests that a new record could be set once the remaining numbers come in.

The net migration figure is the difference between the number of people who moved to Alberta and those who left.

According to ATB Financial, this figure is even greater than what was seen in 2005 and 2006, the years of the last Alberta boom.

"Alberta is the hottest job market in the country and one of the best places in fact in the industrialized world," said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial.

While the booming job market is good news for Alberta, Hirsch warns the population increase will also increase demands on the province's education and health care systems.

Americans coming to Alberta

Many newcomers are coming to Alberta from outside of the country — over the past six years, the number of immigrants has doubled.

Ronald Smith, a civil designer, has worked at Edmonton-based Stantec for a year after moving from Florida.

Smith was working in a convenience store to pay the bills while he looked for a job in his field, even responding to postings in Australia and the United Kingdom.

"The land development industry dried up so I had to expand my boundaries to look in other places," he said.

Stantec vice-president Keith Shillington says the continuing economic problems in the United States is forcing people to look farther afield for a job.

"As the recession has prolonged down there, we're finding more Americans willing to make the move up to Alberta," he said..

As for Smith, he is enjoying living in Edmonton so far and is happy with the opportunities offered by his new employer.

With files from the CBC's Gareth Hampshire

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