Winnipeg Economic Highlights (2010 to 2015)
- In 2015, Winnipeg’s GDP at basic prices reached $36 billion (2007 dollars). This represents an increase of 2.3 per cent from the previous year. Over the last five years, Winnipeg’s GDP increased by 2.2 per cent per year on average. In relation to the other major census metropolitan areas across Canada, Winnipeg’s growth ranked seventh.
- The population of Winnipeg’s census metropolitan area is trending upward. In 2015, the population reached 793,507 and increased by 1.6 per cent over the last five years. This was the fifth-highest growth rate across the country, an improvement from a seventh-place ranking from last year’s five-year average.
- The workforce in Winnipeg is also showing signs of upward growth. By the end of 2015, Winnipeg’s labour force supply totaled 451,507 people and grew by seven per cent from 2010. When compared nationally, Winnipeg ranked sixth among major census metropolitan areas in Canada.
- In 2015, Winnipeg’s participation rate of 69.1 per cent was higher than the national rate of 65.8 per cent. When assessed over a five-year term, Winnipeg’s participation rate declined by 1.1 percentage points, similar to the national rate. When compared to the city’s declining rate of 2.3 percentage points last year, the proportion of the working-age population in the labour force is increasing in Winnipeg.
- Winnipeg’s unemployment rate averaged six per cent by the end of 2015 and was lower than the national rate by almost one percentage point. From 2010 to 2015, Winnipeg’s unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points, the highest among major metropolitan areas. The increasing labour force supply was a factor here.
- Employment growth in Winnipeg’s industries was evident in agriculture and utilities. From 2010 to 2015, these industries grew by 28 per cent.
- Wages in Manitoba continue to be lower than the average weekly earnings nationally. In 2015, Manitobans earned $880 per week on average, $72 lower than the national average of $952. From 2010 to 2015, these average weekly earnings increased by 2.5 per cent per year on average and were slightly above the national rate of 2.3 per cent. In comparison to other provinces, Manitoba ranked fifth.
- Trade activity in Manitoba has improved recently. In 2015, Manitoba exported $13.7 billion worth of merchandise and grew by 33.4 per cent over last five years. Manitoba ranked fifth when compared nationally, an improvement from the previous year’s ninth-place spot. Import activity increased by 52 per cent to $21 billion. Canada’s imports increased by only 32.7 per cent, 19.4 per cent lower than Manitoba.
- Manitoba’s total capital expenditures amounted to $12.4 billion in 2014 and increased by 5.6 per cent per year on average over the last five years, the fourth-largest growth rate across the country.
- Local economic confidence continues when it comes to construction activity in Winnipeg. Although lower than previous years, total building permit values in 2015 reached $1.6 billion. Over the last five years, this value has increased by 9.1 per cent per year on average, which was six per cent higher than the national rate and ranked fifth among all other metropolitan centres across Canada.
- In 2015, Winnipeg’s ‘Class A’ office market posted a 12.1 per cent vacancy rate, similar to the national rate. The net rental rate for this space was $17.58 per square foot, the lowest cost among major metropolitan centres across Canada.
- On a per capita basis, Manitoba’s expenditures on research and development continue to be lower than the national average. Canada invested 1.8 per cent of its total GDP on R&D, while Manitoba allocated 1.3 per cent.
- The capacity to purchase goods and services and to save money appears to be more challenging in Winnipeg. In 2015, the per capita personal disposable income in Winnipeg was $31,236, the second-lowest among all major metropolitan centres. Based on a five-year average, Winnipeg’s personal disposable income grew by 2.6 per cent per year. During this same period, personal disposable incomes across the nation grew at the higher rate of 2.9 per cent.
Winnipeg Economic Overview
Winnipeg has one of the most diverse economies of any major city in Canada. Winnipeg’s aerospace, finance and insurance, transportation, agribusiness, information technology, advanced manufacturing, tourism, life sciences and creative industries provide a solid economic base that serves the community well. Overall, Winnipeg's diverse economy provides a stable workforce, a low unemployment rate and a cushion against major fluctuations resulting from downturns in the economy.
Winnipeg has an advanced manufacturing sector, which ranges from food and beverage to tractors and other farm equipment, and from municipal and inter-urban buses to specialty steel products, electrical components, aerospace components, chemicals, plastics, furniture and much more. Advanced manufacturers can source many of their inputs from other firms and draw on a large pool of skilled labour; much of this activity is export-oriented. Bus and tractor manufacturers export most of their output, for example, making motor vehicles one of Manitoba’s largest categories of export.
Winnipeg has a long history as a major financial centre and is the headquarters of some of Canada’s most prominent investment firms and insurance companies. Adding to this is Winnipeg’s historical strength in food products manufacturing and commercialization in functional foods, nutraceuticals, bio-composites and biofuels.