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Thousands of Albertans have their roots in our sister province to the east—Saskatchewan. Over the years, that province has been a traditional source of interprovincial migration flowing to Alberta.
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ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team January 16, 2017
Migration flow from Saskatchewan remains positive
Thousands of Albertans have their roots in our sister province to the east—Saskatchewan. Over the years, that province has been a traditional source of interprovincial migration flowing to Alberta. That flow reversed sharply during the economic boom of 2006-07 when Alberta’s soaring housing costs and Saskatchewan’s booming economy drew hundreds of people back.
 
The recession of 2015 and 2016 did not, however, send many Albertans across the border to Saskatchewan. In fact, the flow continues to be positive for Alberta, albeit at a slower rate than what we saw in the 90s and 2000s.
 
The thin orange line in the graph below represents quarterly net migration, which tends to jump up and down. The heavy orange line is the four-quarter trend line, which provides a clearer picture of migration flows. As of the third quarter of last year, approximately 500 more people came to Alberta each quarter than those who headed to Saskatchewan.
 
Despite Alberta’s recession, we have not seen a massive flow of workers to Saskatchewan mostly because that province’s job market has been even weaker. Over the last 12 months, total employment in Saskatchewan has slumped 1.2 per cent, and full-time jobs are down by 2.6 per cent. That compares with a drop of 0.8 and 1.9 in Alberta, respectively.
 
Rider Nation may rule the hearts of thousands of former Saskatchewan residents. But in this economic downturn, not even football seems to be drawing them home.
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