Windsor places fifth on list of Canadian cities by economic attractiveness

Thursday, July 19, 2018



How attractive is Windsor as an economic destination? Not as much as Ottawa. But more than Regina. More than London. And way more than Toronto, according to a new analysis by BMO.

Is Windsor an attractive place for the labour market? Indeed so, according to a new BMO report that puts our city and region at fifth place among 21 major communities across Canada.

As ranked by BMO in an analysis entitled “Where have all the good people gone, now?” — Windsor is just above Regina (No. 6) and just below Edmonton (No. 4) in terms of “Labour Market Attractiveness.”

We’re well above London (No. 12), and far above Toronto (No. 19).

Highest on the list? Ottawa. Lowest? St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Income, job prospects, housing affordability, and tax burden were the criteria used for the ranking, based largely on data from Statistics Canada and BMO’s own economics department.

Making money wasn’t a favourable aspect for Windsor. Our median employee income of $70,100 was one of the lowest in the study, going by absolute dollars. Only Winnipeg ($70,100), Moncton ($69,900), St. Catharines ($63,200), and Prince Edward Island ($61,900) had comparably low median income figures.

We did better in terms of job prospects, with our 3.3 per cent employment growth and 5.3 per cent jobless rate both scoring well when compared to the nationwide average (2.6 per cent employment growth, 6.4 per cent jobless rate).

But housing affordability is where Windsor really shone. With an average home price of $280,300 and average rent of $720 per month for a one-bedroom dwelling, our region offers some of the best housing bargains in the country, according to BMO.

Compare that to Ottawa, with its average home price of $403,500 and average rent of $1,020 per month. Or Vancouver, with its average home price of $1,027,400 and average rent of $1,220 per month.

By BMO’s reckoning, the only regions with similar housing affordability as Windsor are in Eastern Canada: St. John’s, Prince Edward Island, Moncton. And perhaps Quebec City.

One caveat: BMO’s ranking does not account for lifestyle in any way.

“We understand that mountains vs. lakes, or seafood vs. beef are amony many other important considerations, but such lifestyle factors are ignored here,” wrote Robert Kavcic, a senior economist with BMO.

“At any rate, the picture is telling, with a few stark changes from when we last ran such an analysis five years ago.”