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Job growth in Montreal has been described as “quite exceptional” by the author of a new report showing that Canada’s second-largest city gets top ranking among the 20 largest metropolitan areas in Canada and the United States.

74,900 jobs were created in the Greater Montreal area in 2017, translating into a growth rate of 3.61 percent. This is the highest growth rate recorded in Montreal for two decades.

“We have had rapid growth in many high-tech sectors, including gaming, visual effects, computer sciences, artificial intelligence, aerospace, life sciences, and the cloud industry,” said Christian Bernard, the chief economist at Montréal International, the economic development agency that published the report using figures provided by the Conference Board of Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Christian Bernard, Chief Economist at Montréal International

Speaking with Moving2Canada, Bernard stated that Montreal was “booming because of our talent pool, eleven universities, and cost advantages,” adding that the city has “a great reputation and strong economic fundamentals.”

According to Bernard, the seeds of this success were planted around 15 years ago when key decision makers in the public and private sectors identified specific industries for growth.

Those prescient decisions are now paying off in style. Only one other city, Riverside, California, posted a growth rate above 3 percent, and Montreal was comfortably ahead of big job markets such as San Francisco and New York City, as well as Toronto, which ranked sixth with a job growth rate of 2.32 percent.

Montreal’s affordable living costs are not just an advantage for residents, but also for business. While wages are typically lower than in most US and Canadian cities, Montreal has cheaper property and rent prices, as well as cheaper transport links, meaning that workers may expect to end up with similar, or even more, disposable income. Moreover, utility costs are lower than in many other Canadian cities – an advantage for residents and employers alike. The exchange rate between dollars north and south of the border, which over recent years has seen a stronger US dollar, has also attracted investment north.

Montreal’s trendy Mile End neighbourhood is home to some of the city’s fastest-growing tech companies

Oh, Canada!

Bernard was keen to stress that being part of Canada is a huge advantage for Montreal, the largest city in Quebec, an often independent-minded province that has twice attempted to become an independent country – an idea that lies dormant as we enter a provincial election campaign.

Canada’s openness to immigration, bringing talented workers from around the world, is a major boon to cities across the country, particularly at a time when the US administration makes it more difficult for workers to obtain the right to work in US cities, and for employers to hire them.

“Montreal is part of this Canadian success,” said Bernard. “It’s a nice period to live and work in Montreal.”

RankCityJobs in thousands, 2016Jobs in thousands, 2017Growth
8San Francisco2,344.32,396.42.22%
10San Diego1,424.61,453.22.01%
13Washington, D.C.3,223.23,274.11.58%
14New York City9,525.19,672.21.54%
17Los Angeles5,969.86,052.21.38%
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