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The Demographics of the Saskatchewan Labour Market. a presentation to the Saskatchewan Centennial Summit January 2005. Doug Elliott Sask Trends Monitor 444 19th Avenue Regina, Saskatchewan S4N 1H1 306-522-5515

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the demographics of the saskatchewan labour market

The Demographics of the Saskatchewan Labour Market

a presentation to theSaskatchewan Centennial SummitJanuary 2005

Doug Elliott

Sask Trends Monitor

444 19th Avenue

Regina, Saskatchewan

S4N 1H1


twenty year labour market projection
Twenty Year Labour Market Projection
  • A projection of the Saskatchewan labour force to 2023 has been prepared for Saskatchewan Learning. This Labour Market Trends report updates a previous report published in 2000 and is the basis for the material in this presentation.
  • Projecting the size of the labour force involves i) projecting the population, and then ii) projecting labour force participation rates. The assumptions underlying the projection are:
    • a “present trends continue” scenario for the population;
    • modest improvements in inter-provincial migration flows;
    • declining fertility rates among Aboriginal women, stable rates for non-Aboriginal women;
    • no change in mortality rates;
    • increasing labour force participation rates for women and the Aboriginal population.
natural growth rate births less deaths
Natural Growth Rate (births less deaths)
  • The “natural growth rate” has fallen to 2,000 persons per year from over 10,000 in the early 1980s. It will continue to be low.
  • That means the size of the provincial population will be determined by migration to an even greater extent than it is now.
interprovincial migration
Interprovincial Migration
  • International migration to Saskatchewan in the 1990s averaged about 2,000 persons per year; too small to have much of an aggregate effect.
  • Interprovincial migration has been and will continue to be the most important determinant of population growth.
  • The projection assumes that net interprovincial migration will fluctuate near zero over the forecast period.
population projection
Population Projection
  • With these assumptions, the population will continue to fluctuate near one million as it has in the past.
  • Within the one million residents, a number of important changes in the age distribution will take place.
age distribution of the sask population
Age Distribution of the Sask Population
  • The older end of the “baby boom” generation is already contemplating retirement. (The average age of retirement in Canada is now 60 years.)
  • The “echo” in is relatively large compared with Canada as a whole because of the Aboriginal population.
  • There is Saskatchewan’s competitive advantage - the presence of a large potential labour force - to mitigate the effects of a shortage caused by retiring boomers.
the size of the labour force
The Size of the Labour Force
  • An increase in labour force participation rates will be required to keep the decline in the population from translating into a decline in the labour force.
  • The key to increasing these rates is the Aboriginal population. With increases in education levels, 22% of new labour force entrants could be Aboriginal in 2015.
some implications for the labour market
Some Implications for the Labour Market
  • This kind of general decline in the labour market will happen here before it does in other provinces. There is disagreement among economists about the impact but we expect one or more of the following will happen.
    • The demand for labour will generate an increase in wage rates, attracting workers from other provinces or countries.
    • The same increase in wage rates will attract those not employed (particularly seniors) to enter or re-enter the labour market.
    • The economy will shift from labour intensive activities to capital intensive ones.
    • There will be an increasing number of “occupation-specific” skill shortages.
    • There will be a general economic slowdown.
  • To avoid the economic slowdown, the province needs to
    • increase international and interprovincial migration to the province,
    • retain our young well-educated youth, and
    • raise education levels in the population generally and the Aboriginal population specifically.
employment rates need to increase
Employment Rates Need to Increase
  • In 2001, only a third of First Nation residents in Saskatchewan were employed. This compares with 59% of Métis and 78% of the non-Aboriginal population.
  • Lower levels of completed education in the Aboriginal population explain most of the difference.
education is the key
Education is the Key
  • Employment rates are above 80% among those who have completed high school and above 85% if they have a post-secondary degree, certificate, or diploma.
  • Increasing the education levels of the Saskatchewan population in general and the Aboriginal population specifically is the key to avoiding an economic slowdown because of labour shortages.


copies of this presentation and the Labour Market Trends Report are available on:

for more information contact Doug Elliott at: