Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues

Methodology

APEC’s long-term demographic and economic projection system provides insights to help guide policy, business and community decisions. It is intended to illustrate plausible outcomes based upon key assumptions and examines how these outcomes may change if the underlying assumptions are adjusted.

Geographic detail

The projection system is intentionally designed to capture sub-provincial dynamics and variations, unlike traditional models that are typically at the aggregate provincial level. It is based on economic-demographic models for the region’s largest cities, including Halifax, St. John’s, Charlottetown, Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, as well as for rural areas of the four provinces. These sub-provincial models are then aggregated to generate data for the four provinces and the Atlantic region as a whole.

Demographic detail

The projection system includes data on births, deaths and net migration along with the resulting population total and the number of households. It generates projections of population for males and females for single years of age which can be combined into various age groups.

Economic and industry detail

The system includes projections for overall economic growth, employment, labour force and the unemployment rate. It projects each region’s real GDP and employment for 18 industries (based upon the 2-digit NAICS or North American Industry Classification System).

Projection period

The main focus of the projection system is to provide baseline projections for the next two decades to 2041. A longer-term version of the model will be used to assess provincial fiscal sustainability.

Model structure

The projection system links demographic and economic variables rather than projecting them independently. Demand for a region’s exports generates incomes that lead to spending and employment in local community sectors, such as construction, retail and personal services. This determines the region’s overall output, employment and population and the level of net-migration needed to sustain this economic activity. The projection system reflects recent historical trends (2006-2019) and assumptions for the future informed by consultations with regional experts. 

Assumptions

The projection system makes assumptions about fertility and mortality, long-term economic growth and productivity, and migration and labour force participation. By changing these assumptions, APEC can assess and discuss various potential scenarios for the region. 

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