The Baby Boom generation is set to outpace its elders in job growth, and Canada’s economy could grow more than twice as fast if it takes advantage of a boom in the birth rate, the country’s most reliable jobs indicator.
The government said Friday that a growing number of Canadians will be able to claim child-care, university, and family benefits for their first child, which will boost economic activity in the booming province of Alberta.
The number of Canadian babies born in 2020 is forecast to surpass the population of Alberta, where it is estimated there will be around 1.1 million, according to Statistics Canada.
In a report released Friday, the federal government estimated that Canada will have 1.5 million people working in sectors including manufacturing, construction, and health care, as well as 2.1 per cent of the population aged 25 to 64.
In the last 10 years, Alberta has seen the biggest jump in births, according the latest census figures, from 4,839 in 2000 to 5,746 in 2020.
The growth has been fueled by an expected boom in population and immigration, which the Alberta government says will generate about $2.7 billion in economic activity for the province and bring jobs and investment to the province.
The province’s growth is expected to continue in 2020, when the population is expected at about 5.7 million.
The economic impact of the Baby Boom is expected in 2020 to reach $1.1 trillion, the provincial government said in a release.
While the population will increase by roughly two per cent in 2020 and 2019, the economy will grow by about $1 trillion over the same period.
The Alberta government said that by 2020 there will likely be an additional 1.2 million Canadian citizens aged 25-to-64 living in the province, but the federal forecast suggests that number will grow to more than 3 million by 2020.
“The baby boomers are coming of age and the economy is taking off,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
“We are in a period where the boomers will be the first in our generation to make up that economic base.”
Canada’s unemployment rate is expected as high as 7.4 per cent by 2020 in the oil-producing province of British Columbia, which is expected, based on the province’s forecast of more than 800,000 new jobs over the next five years.
The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 5.5 per cent, while Canada’s has been declining.
“A lot of the gains are in the manufacturing sector,” said Stephen Green, chief executive officer of the Conference Board of Canada.
“But a lot of that will be offset by the aging population and the fact that more Canadians are retiring than are working.
The older people will retire, and the younger people are looking for work.”
Canada will need to keep up with the growth in the baby boom if it wants to maintain its position as the world’s largest economy, said Green.
“In the long run, I don’t think Canada’s going to be able compete with other countries in the long term, and it’s going’t be able in the next decade,” he said.
The federal government says it expects Canada to have 6.6 million jobs in 2020 after growing to 8.1.6 per cent growth over the last decade.
Alberta’s economy has grown faster than most of Canada since 2000, with Alberta expected to surpass Alberta as the nation’s fastest-growing economy, with more than 10 per cent annual growth.
Alberta will see its job growth slowed by a decline in the number of people working outside the province in 2020 from around 4.7 per cent to 3.8 per cent.
Canada’s population is forecasted to shrink by about 1.8 million in 2020 compared to 2020, which would be the largest decline in population in Canada since 1950.
The projected drop in the population would be offset, in part, by the baby-boom population.
According to the latest Census figures, Alberta’s population has increased by roughly 10 per.cent since 2000.