Sask. economic growth expected to be slower than national average but bright spots in tech, energy: BMO report
Projected 5.3% growth rate this year below national average of 6%, behind other western provinces
A Bank of Montreal report says the Canadian economy, including Saskatchewan's, is poised for strong growth through the second half of the year.
However, Saskatchewan's economy isn't forecast to grow as much as the rest of the country.
The Banking on Main Street report, released Thursday, suggests Canada's real GDP growth rate — a measure of overall economic growth — is projected to be six per cent this year and 4.5 per cent in 2022.
Saskatchewan's economic growth rate is expected to be less robust than the Canadian average — 5.3 per cent this year and 3.2 per cent in 2022, which lags behind other Western Canadian provinces.
However, that reverses the decline seen in 2020, the report notes.
"Businesses in Saskatchewan tell us they feel cautious optimism," the report's authors write. "Understandably, many business owners are taking a wait-and-see approach."
While Saskatchewan's 6.7 per cent unemployment rate mid-year was below the national average, "the relatively soft job market is likely to persist beyond the pandemic, and the province will continue to lose population to other provinces," the report projects.
It says, however, that Saskatchewan's tech sector "continues to show excellent potential," noting economic diversification thanks to Innovation Saskatchewan funding for start-ups.
Saskatchewan is also projected to benefit from an improved energy-price environment, said the report, with encouraging strength in oil prices.
Agricultural producers have benefited from good crop prices and most exports are up, the report says, but the current drought conditions are "putting downward pressure on optimism."