Once again, Alberta is the place to be! This, based on the latest population and migration data released this morning. The province’s population as of April 2012 was 3,847,119—an increase of 2.4 per cent from a year ago and by far the fastest pace of provincial growth in Canada. The primary driver of this population growth: inter-provincial migration.
In the first quarter of the year, an estimated 26,910 people moved to Alberta from other provinces. At the same time 13,514 packed up their own bags and moved elsewhere in the country. On a net basis, the province gained nearly 13,400 new residents from other parts of Canada. That represents the highest net increase in inter-provincia lpopulation flow since the hey-day of the third quarter of 2006 when in-migration peaked at nearly 17,000.
The rollercoaster of in- and out-migration tends to follow a fairly predictable pattern, and the net outflow of some Albertans during the 2009 recession highlights that trend. Still, the periods of outflow tend to be short with not all that much net loss. The gains
during the boom periods—such as the one Alberta is enjoying at the moment—more than makes up for the losses during the busts.
The obvious reason for Alberta’s strong attraction for inter-provincial migrants is the white-hot job market. With an unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent and labour shortages gripping many sectors and regions of the province, the appeal of Wild Rose Country is obvious.*
* Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist, ATB Financial