Economic Scan - Saskatchewan: 2023



  • Workers aged 65+ made up 5.6% of the working population in Saskatchewan, the highest among all western provinces and tied for third in the country after Nova Scotia (5.7%) and P.E.I. (6.4%).
  • By 2043, seniors (65+) will account for 18.0% of Saskatchewan's population, representing the lowest rate in the country and well below the national average of 25.9%.
  • The proportion of the population that is working age (15-64) is expected to decrease in every Canadian province by 2043, except for Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan boasts the second-youngest population of all provinces in Canada, muting the effects of an aging workforce. In 2023, 38.0% of residents were under 30.
The average age of the Indigenous population was 29.6 compared to 41.3 for the non-Indigenous population.

1.2 million people lived in Saskatchewan in 2023, an increase of 2.6% from 2022. Saskatchewan represents 3.0% of Canada's total population.

Indigenous persons comprised 12.1% of the total population aged 15+, an increase of 1.7 percentage points since 2019. However, they only accounted for 11.3% of the labour force in 2023. This is the first year that the proportion of the Indigenous population in the workforce has decreased (0.5 percentage points since 2022) since the start of the pandemic.

In 2021, 14.4% of Saskatchewan's population identified as part of a visible minority group. South Asians and Filipinos each made up approximately 4% of the population. The proportion of visible minorities was higher than in Atlantic Canada, but lower than in other provinces.

Recent immigrants made up 3.8% of the working population in the province. In an effort to retain more immigrants who are already in the province, the Government of Saskatchewan increased the number occupations (+279) that are eligible under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program.

According to the 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability, 29.8% of Saskatchewan's population, aged 15 and over, had one or more disabilities. The percentage of peoples with disabilities aged 25-64 employed in the province was 77.4% in 2022, a decline of 1.2% since 2017. The national average was 73.9%.

Source : Statistics Canada - Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) 2022.

Labour Market Conditions

In 2023...


Employment increased (+1.8%)


Unemployment increased (+3.9%)


Unemployment rate increased to 4.8%


Participation rate decreased (-0.5%)

Saskatchewan Unemployment Rate

Show data table
Saskatchewan Unemployment Rate
Year Unemployment Rate (%)
2013 4.2
2014 3.9
2015 5.2
2016 6.4
2017 6.4
2018 6.1
2019 5.5
2020 8.4
2021 6.6
2022 4.7
2023 4.8


  • The unemployment rate reached a high of 5.3% in August.
  • Throughout the year, Saskatchewan maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, never falling outside the lowest three of all the provinces.
  • The job vacancy rate in the province reached a two-year low in November 2023 at 3.4%. Job vacancies had remained high through 2022 and early 2023. An influx of immigrants in the third quarter of 2023 translated into a 23.8% drop in job vacancies from Q3 to Q4.

Economic Conditions

Saskatchewan Economic Drivers in 2023

Global demand for agricultural products

Uranium prices

Record immigration

Forecasted GDP Growth Rate in Saskatchewan

Source : The Conference Board of Canada. Provincial Five-Year Outlook. November 2023.

Show data table
Forecasted GDP Growth Rate in Saskatchewan
Year Forecasted GDP Growth Rate
2023 0.6%
2024 1.5%
2025 2.6%
2026 2.7%


Reviewing 2023...

  • Very strong demand for fertilizer in 2022 was expected to yield strong economic gains in 2023. An unexpected drop in fertilizer prices led to a muted economic impact, and slow start to the year. Prices rebounded slightly by the end of 2023, offsetting some of the early losses.
  • Geopolitical tensions provided a boost for the resource economy overall. International exports of grain and uranium increased on strong demand.
  • Most agricultural yields fell below the 10-year averages due to drought, heat stress, gophers, and grasshoppers. Despite these challenges, yields were better than originally expected before last year's early harvest.
  • BHP approved the $6.4 billion Stage 2 of the Jansen potash project. Stage 1 ($7.4 billion) surpassed 30% completion. Initial production from Stage 2 is expected in 2029.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan is hoping that local businesses will capitalize on international trade missions to Mexico, Japan, and Germany, where the province touted agricultural innovation and new infrastructure to facilitate the movement of goods to global markets.

Risks to the Saskatchewan Economy in 2024

  • Labour shortages and unaddressed skills gaps.
  • Fluctuations in commodity prices.
  • Lower than normal moisture through the winter months may exacerbate drought conditions for agricultural producers.
  • Housing scarcity that may deter the population growth needed to keep up with labour market demands.

Regional Issues


The interprovincial migration deficit in Saskatchewan decreased 32.7% in 2023 from 2022. Last year, 21,898 left Saskatchewan for other provinces and 15,510 left other provinces for Saskatchewan, resulting in a deficit of 6,388. The net deficit in 2022 was 9,493. Despite interprovincial loss, the population in the province grew 2.6% (+31,369) to 1.2 million people in 2023 due to record immigration.

Industry Trends

Employment Change by Industry, 2023

Show data table
Employment Change by Industry, 2023
Industry (NAICS) Employment Change('000s) Percent Change(%)
Professional, scientific and technical services +5.6 +19.4
Educational services +4.0 +8.4
Transportation and warehousing +3.1 +12.3
Business, building and other support services +2.3 +19.2
Information, culture and recreation +1.4 +7.2
Manufacturing +1.1 +3.4
Utilities +0.8 +11.9
Public administration +0.8 +2.2
Wholesale and retail trade +0.7 +0.7
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas +0.6 +3.0
Accommodation and food services +0.2 +0.7
Health care and social assistance -1.0 -1.1
Other services (except public administration) -1.1 -4.0
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing -1.2 -3.9
Agriculture -3.3 -11.9
Construction -3.5 -7.5


  • Professional, scientific, and technical services grew (+19.4%) the most from 2022 to 2023 and should continue to grow with new funding for agricultural innovation, and clean energy technology.
  • Healthcare and social assistance was one of seven industries that lost jobs compared to 2022, as the industry struggles to attract and retain workers. The worst of the strain on the healthcare system caused by COVID-19 appears to be over, but hospitals still struggle with increased patient loads associated with the new virus.
  • Agriculture lost the most workers by percentage (-11.9%). Weather, farm consolidation, retirements, and workers leaving for other high-demand industries played a role in the decline.

Regional Economic Conditions

  • The unemployment rate in Yorkton-Melville increased from 3.8% in 2022 to 4.2% in 2023. Expansions to canola crushing plants and a new pea processing plant will drive jobs in the region.
  • Swift Current – Moose Jaw was the only region where employment fell (-3.7%). The pandemic took a toll on the once-steady tourism industry. Employment losses in tourism-related industries were responsible for a significant portion of the decline.

Employment Change by Economic Region, 2023

Show data table
Employment Change by Economic Region, 2023
Economic Region Percent Change (%) Employment Change('000s)
Regina-Moose Mountain +3.5 +6.3
Yorkton-Melville +3.2 +1.2
Saskatoon-Biggar +2.5 +5.3
Saskatchewan +1.8 +10.7
Prince Albert and Northern -0.3 -0.3
Swift Current-Moose Jaw -3.7 -1.9


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