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Mid-sized Cities Looking To Recover Recession-era Job Losses

Not all employment news has been negative. Between 2005 and 2012, eight mid-sized cities posted average job growth greater than or close to three per cent per year:

  • Brockville, Ont.
  • Leamington, Ont.
  • Timmins, Ont.
  • Prince Albert, Sask.
  • Lethbridge, Alta
  • Wood Buffalo, Alta.
  • Chilliwack, B.C., and
  • Duncan, B.C.

The Mid-Sized Cities Outlook is The Conference Board of Canada's first such analysis. The publication has historical economic and employment data for 46 mid-sized Canadian cities. Economic forecasts are provided for eight cities that contributed financially to the research - Fredericton, Sept-Îles, Rimouski, Granby, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Brandon, Lethbridge and Red Deer.

Economic performance 2005-2012


  • In Corner Brook, Nfld., the economy grew strongly from 2005 to 2007, but growth has declined in four of the past five years.
  • Charlottetown posted positive real GDP growth every year from 2005 to 2012 and created more than 4,000 new jobs since 2005.
  • Summerside's economy has expanded every year since 2006, but, surprisingly, the number of jobs in the region has fallen.
  • Following modest growth from 2005 to 2010, Fredericton's economy declined in 2011 and 2012.
  • Bathurst's economy grew for six consecutive years between 2005 and 2010, but growth tailed off the past two years.
  • Edmundston's economy is about the same size as it was eight years ago.
  • Not only has Miramichi's economic output declined every year since 2005, both its 2012 real GDP and employment levels were less than half of what they were eight years ago.
  • Cape Breton's economy has grown every year since 2005, but employment in 2012 was largely the same as it was in the mid-2000s.
  • Truro avoided significant declines during the recession, but economic growth was modest between 2005 and 2012.
  • New Glasgow's economy shrank every year since 2009 and the region has shed almost 6,000 jobs since 2008.


  • Thanks largely to a rising population, output and employment in Sept-Iles grew solidly between 2005 and 2012.
  • Granby posted strong economic growth in five of the past six years, which led to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs during that period.
  • The economy of Rouyn-Noranda/ Val-d'Or grew by more than three per cent annually between 2010 and 2012.
  • After significant declines in real GDP between 2007 and 2009, Rimouski's economy posted three consecutive years of strong growth starting in 2010.
  • Thanks to three years of steady economic growth, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu created a total of almost 4,000 new jobs over 2011 and 2012.
  • Baie-Comeau's economy grew for eight consecutive years, but employment shrank by almost 2,000 between 2005 and 2012.
  • Shawinigan's economy was smaller in 2012 than it was in 2005, and the region lost more than 5,000 jobs over this time frame.
  • Real GDP in Drummondville has declined for five consecutive years and employment has fallen by almost 8,000.
  • Saint Hyacinthe's economy has been declining for eight years and both its real GDP and employment levels are nearly half of what they were in 2005.


  • After a difficult period between 2005 and 2009, Leamington has posted explosive economic growth in the last three years, averaging more than eight per cent annually.
  • Since 2005, Brockville has posted strong economic growth and added 4,500 new jobs in the region.
  • Belleville's economy grew by more than four per cent on average between 2010 and 2012.
  • Timmins grew by an average 2.7 per cent per year in each of the last three years and added 5,000 jobs in 2012 alone.
  • The economies in Kawartha Lakes, Cornwall, Norfolk, Sarnia, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie were about the same size in 2012 as they were 2005.
  • Chatham-Kent's economy shrank in six of the eight years between 2005 and 2012.


  • Wood Buffalo (centered on Fort McMurray) has posted explosive economic growth since 2005 - averaging 6.5 per cent per year - and added almost 17,000 new jobs.
  • Grande Prairie's economy grew by an average of 3 per cent annually between 2005 and 2012.
  • Red Deer rebounded from the 2009 recession with three strong years of economic growth between 2010 and 2012.
  • Lethbridge has posted relatively consistent annual economic growth since 2007, although employment levels have varied from year to year.
  • Medicine Hat's economy declined for five consecutive years between 2008 and 2012, and 14,000 jobs were lost over that period.
  • Moose Jaw's economy grew by a modest 1.2 per cent per year during the 2005-2012 period.
  • Prince Albert has enjoyed economic growth of more than four per cent on an average annual basis since 2007.
  • Brandon's economy contracted by a total of 1.6 per cent between 2008 and 2012, but has enjoyed strong population growth in recent years, a positive indicator moving forward.

British Columbia

  • Prince George's economy has grown by about five per cent annually since 2010.
  • Chilliwack was one of the fastest growing mid-sized economies in the country between 2005 and 2012, with average annual increases in GDP of 6.2 per cent.
  • Duncan lost ground for five consecutive years between 2005 and 2009, but has rebounded with growth averaging 7.5 per cent annually since 2010.
  • Kamloops has posted solid economic and employment growth since 2005.
  • After posting particularly strong increases between 2005 and 2007, the economy of Courtenay, Nanaimo and Dawson Creek expanded at a more modest pace from 2008 to 2012.
  • Vernon's economy has contracted for five consecutive years.

The publication is available upon request.

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