Lethbridge 2019 exports passed $1.2B, up 16%

That makes it the largest increase since 2014 and the 5th largest over the last 15 years.

At the end of last month, Statistics Canada released data on exports from Canada for 2019. I decided to report on Lethbridge’s data.

Technically, the export data is for the Lethbridge metropolitan area, which Statistics Canada defines as everything within the Lethbridge County boundaries, including Lethbridge itself.

Lethbridge saw $1.234 billion in exports in 2019, its highest level since at least 2005 (the furthest back the data set went).

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Here’s what exports since 2005 looked like from Lethbridge:

Lethbridge saw a significant drop in exports during the financial crisis, but was able to recover fairly quickly afterword; although exports slowed slightly during and following the recession from 5 years ago.

Last year’s exports were up nearly 16% over 2018’s $1.065 billion. That makes it the largest increase since 2014 and the 5th largest over the last 15 years.

More than half of 2019’s exports were made by the manufacturing sector. The next largest sectors were the agriculture and wholesale sectors, with each making up roughly 1 in every 5 dollars in exports. Transportation and warehousing rounded out almost the remaining exports at only 3%. All other sectors combined came to only 0.7%.

Here’s the total value of exports for each sector:

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting$263,522,000
Wholesale trade$231,391,000
Transportation and warehousing$36,794,000
Finance and insurance$2,783,000
Retail trade$1,816,000
Health care and social assistance$481,000
Other services (except public administration)$431,000
Real estate and rental and leasing$306,000
Educational services$215,000
Professional, scientific and technical services$73,000
Management of companies and enterprises$33,000
Arts, entertainment and recreation$6,000
Public administration$6,000

The number of “exporting establishments” in 2019 was actually down by 4 from the 159 there were in 2018. What I find fascinating is that while exports have generally increased in value over the last 5 years, the number of companies exporting has decreased.

In 2014, 174 companies conducted $1.029 billion in exports. Compare that to just 5 years later, when 155 companies exported $1.234 billion worth. The number of companies exporting is down by roughly 20, but total exports is up by more than $200 million.

The companies exporting in 2014 averaged about $5.91 million in exports each, whereas last year, companies averaged about $7.96 million each.

The only other Alberta cities in the dataset were Calgary and Edmonton, which unsurprisingly dwarfed Lethbridge, with $87.7 billion and $11.6 billion, respectively, in exports last year.

If we look at a per capita basis, Calgary still comes out on top, with $66,667 per person last year. Lethbridge, on the other hand, is in second place at $12,152 per person. Edmonton nips at Lethbridge’s heels at $11,912 per person.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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