Manitoba’s Investment Climate: Some Positive Glimmers amid Lacklustre Results

Oct 7, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Manitoba’s exports fell, like those in every other jurisdiction over the past year, but our province tied for third in productivity increases and also had the third smallest increase in net provincial financial liabilities as a percentage of GDP according to the MB Check-Up, an annual economic analysis of the province as a place to live, work and invest by the Chartered Accountants of Manitoba.

Gary Hannaford, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba

“The global recession that began in 2008 slowed economic activity and consumer demand worldwide, reducing export flows from Canada and most other countries throughout 2009,” said Gary Hannaford, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba.

“Compared to the rest of Canada, Manitoba was fairly resilient in the face of the global recession. In fact, it had the smallest decline in GDP among the comparison jurisdictions and we see even more encouraging results looking at the five year trends,” he added.

Exports per worker, or the ratio of inflation-adjusted value of exports to the number of workers in the labour force, declined by 19.9 per cent in Manitoba. Exports plunged across all the comparison jurisdictions in 2009 and this was the smallest loss.

“Last year’s decline was due primarily to waning global demand for Manitoba’s key manufactured and commodity exports,” Hannaford said. “However, the five year trend shows that Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the only jurisdictions to show growth in the exports indicator.”

Over the past five years, Manitoba saw a 7.5 per cent gain in the real value of exports per worker, when this indicator declined in all other jurisdictions, except Saskatchewan.

The MB Check-Up also shows that Manitoba had a one-year productivity gain of 0.5 per cent in 2009, tied with the national average. This gain occurred because the decline in provincial output, particularly on the goods side of the economy, was outstripped by a decline in the number of hours worked.

“The five year trend shows that labour productivity in Manitoba rose by 8.7 per cent, the highest five year growth rate among the comparison jurisdictions, by far,” Hannaford said. “However, despite its progress, Manitoba continues to have the lowest productivity among the reviewed jurisdictions.”

In 2009, Manitoba’s share of employees in the sciences declined by 0.4 percentage points to 5.3 per cent, the second lowest percentage of the comparison jurisdictions.

“When you look at the trend over the past five years, Manitoba’s proportion of technological jobs has not changed when all of the other jurisdictions reviewed experienced an increase in this indicator,” Hannaford said.

In fiscal year 2009/10, Manitoba’s net debt to GDP ratio rose by 1.6 percentage points to 24.4 per cent. This one-year increase was more than Alberta (0.6 percentage points) and Saskatchewan (0.5 percentage points) but much less than the increase in the national average of 4.8 percentage points.

However, at 24.4 per cent, Manitoba continues to have one of the highest net provincial debt as a percentage of GDP among reviewed jurisdictions. Since 2004/05, the province has had the third largest decline (-2.6 percentage points) in its net financial liability/GDP ratio.

MB Check-Up is published annually by the Chartered Accountants of Manitoba and provides an independent factual comparison of the four Western provinces, together with Ontario and the Canadian average using 14 key indicators to create a profile of each as a place to live, a place to work and a place to invest. The second and third sections of the report which deal with Manitoba as a place to live and as a place to work will be released next week.

For further information, contact:
Tanya Beck, Manager of Communications
p: 204 924.4416   e: [email protected] 

With more than 2,800 members and 400 CA students, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba carries out its primary mission to protect the public by ensuring that its members have the highest level of competence and integrity as a result of demanding standards for admission to the profession, its continuous learning policy and its inspection and discipline processes. Thanks to the quality and rigor of their education and training, CAs bring superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight and leadership to every organization.

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