Montreal had a higher rate of job creation in 2017 than any other large city in the United States or Canada, according to Montréal International.
74,900 jobs were created in the Montreal region in 2017, according to the economic development agency, which used figures from the Conference Board of Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That translated into a growth rate of 3.61 per cent — the highest rate among the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the two countries. It’s the highest growth rate recorded in Montreal since 1998.
“It was exceptional, the growth in Montreal in 2017,” said Christian Bernard, the chief economist at Montréal International.
Montreal’s performance is particularly impressive, Bernard said, because the U.S. economy did well in 2017.
Only one other region had a growth rate above three per cent: the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area in California.
Bernard said high-tech industries accounted for much of the growth in employment.
The number of jobs in the Montreal region in the information and cultural sectors grew by six per cent, while jobs in professional, scientific and technical services grew by 8.1 per cent in 2017, according to the Conference Board.
While those categories are broad, they include many tech jobs, Bernard said.
The number of jobs in finance grew by 7.2 per cent.
Bernard said it’s a good sign that these three categories are growing, because it means the growth isn’t coming from a rise in the number of low-wage jobs or in public sector employment.
But maintaining growth may be a challenge. Like every other large North American city, Montreal’s population is aging. The number of people retiring in Quebec already exceeds the number of people entering the workforce, the Conseil du patronat du Québec has said.
“Can we sustain this pace? In the near term, I think yes. In the medium and long term, we have to enlarge the pool of skilled workers and it will depend on our immigration and education systems,” Bernard said.
Rounding out the top five were Phoenix, Dallas and Seattle. Toronto, the only other Canadian city on the list, was sixth, with an employment growth rate of 2.32 per cent.