Alberta’s Secret Economic Weapon – Babies
Alberta, has a secret economic weapon that will keep it in the lead for a long time to come. What is it, and why?
Alberta has benefited well from immigration, both provincial and international, and Edmonton continues to gain as it seduces more residents, incoming workers, retailers and head offices from Calgary.
This will certainly spur and maintain growth over the next 5 to 10 years, but this isn’t the main advantage or the one which will keep us in the lead over the long run.
The answer comes in a much smaller package – babies.
The U.S. media and analysts have been in a frenzy over the last week as new statistics show a declining birth rate which has been cause for alarm. The fear is the U.S. will be crippled by low birth rates, and follow in the footsteps of Japan and Europe. Coupled with current economic policies, a new welfare state and ‘senior boom’ this leads to few young workers supporting an exploding retiree community.
This of course not only means shrinking economic output and a limited talent pool, but potentially far higher taxes to support the system as well.
Thankfully the reverse is happening in Alberta and in Edmonton.
The Pew research Center reveals a record low birth rate for under 25s in the U.S., with a steady decline for the last 7 years. In contrast Alberta and Edmonton is boasting new record highs for birth figures. Spurred on by confidence in the labor market and economy there were more than 52,000 new Albertans born last year. Showing how Edmonton has been closing the gap; 15,236 were born in Edmonton, with Calgary barely ahead with 18,000.
This confidence will in itself will be a self-fulfilling prophecy no doubt; creating a boom in economic growth, larger homegrown talent pool, and potentially leading to a need for less taxation, while keeping fundamentals strong for another generation.
In fact these little bundles are already bringing joy to the local economy, spurring a boom in local retailers to support them from Gymboree, to GAP Kids, The Children’s Place and more.