• Yukon’s workforce is highly educated, skilled, motivated and productive.
  • Partnerships are key to our success.
  • Yukon businesses are leading the way.
  • Yukoners enjoy a very high quality of life.
  • Yukon is open for business.
  • Yukon is home to one of the world’s largest iron ore deposits and one of the world’s largest undeveloped lead-zinc districts.
  • Yukon has been a site location for a number of feature films including the 20th Century Fox's, "The Big Year" starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises continue to be Yukon’s largest private sector employer.



Long ago, the first peoples of the Yukon region had a healthy means of commerce, trading furs and supplies using trail systems that date back centuries and even millennia. Added to that, we’ve had an economy associated with a long and rich mining history since the gold rush era of 1898. Today’s modern economic focus is about diversity, sustainability and competitiveness in a global environment. Yukon’s come a long way over the past 50 years, with significant progress in the tourism, agriculture, technology, retail, construction and hospitality sectors. We have a growing economy built on the foundation of rich, historical traditions only Yukon can offer, combined with today’s modern technological innovations. We’re creating opportunities for Yukon businesses and communities to thrive and prosper, and many are doing just that. We’re doing this in ways that increase productivity and efficiency without eroding the traditional economic values we hold so dear.

With a growing economy comes a growing population. As of December 2016, Yukon’s population increased to a new record high of 38,293, compared to 32,334 in 2006.[1] The majority of Yukon’s population is concentrated in Whitehorse with the capital city accounting for about 77% of the territory’s total population. Most of the gains in populations have been noted in Whitehorse, which serves as a hub for goods and services for other Yukon communities, as well as other local industries, particularly mining.

The labour force in Yukon represents one of the most enviable workforces in Canada as it is both active and growing with a high level of engagement and employee satisfaction and the demographic is relatively young and split evenly along gender lines. Yukon’s unemployment rate is currently amongst the lowest in Canada.

Small enterprise and startup ventures exist in many forms and provide a solid supplement to the economy. The 2015 Business Survey notes that there were over 3,400 businesses in Yukon in 2015, which translates into roughly one business per 11 Yukoners. The highly entrepreneurial economy is filled with independent business owners and often larger industries that have numerous smaller active operators (e.g. specialized construction companies, independent exploration companies, placer mines, film and sound media companies, outfitting companies, tourism operators). These self-operated businesses complement the financial efforts of larger companies and government.

Yukon boasts an extensive network of all-season roads and a robust airport system. Yukon has a cable-delivered broadband network with enhanced development planned for the near future. It provides high-speed internet to Yukon communities, mobile access and a telecommunications delivery system that ensures online access to the majority of Yukoners. Consequently, Yukon businesses are able to effectively connect with partners around the globe.

Economic Outlook Summary

Below is a summary of Yukon’s recent economic performance and expectations for the near-term, as provided in Government of Yukon’s released Yukon Economic Outlook – April 2017.

2016 Highlights

  • Real GDP by industry in 2016 is estimated at $2.295 billion, up 4.6% from Statistic Canada’s estimate of $2.193 billion in 2015.
  • Growth in 2016 follows two consecutive years of GDP contraction, and is primarily related to increased mineral production at the Minto mine.
  • Population as of June 2016 was 37,858[2], up 1.4% from 2015 – 13 straight years of growth.
  • Labour market continued to perform well in 2016:
    • Average employment was 20,200, up 800.
    • Labour force averaged 21,400, up 700.
    • Unemployment rate averaged 5.6% - the lowest in the country.
  • Retail sales reported at over $740 million, up 7.0% from $692 million.
  • A good year for tourism, with international travelers reported up 3.5%.
  • At nearly $171 million, the value of building permits in 2016 was up 45.1% – mostly related to government and institutional projects.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse increased 1.0% in 2016, following a contraction of 0.2% in 2015.

2017 Highlights

  • Real GDP in 2017 is forecast to remain flat at 0.1% over 2016, with lower production from the Minto mine offset by increased government investment.
  • Population will continue to increase by 1.4%, growing to almost 38,400.
  • The number of employed Yukoners and the size of the labour force are both expected to increase to 20,600 and 21,900, respectively.
  • The unemployment rate in 2017 is expected to rise slightly to 5.7%, a reflection of labour force growth.
  • Following strong gains in 2016, retail sales are expected to remain strong in 2017, growing about 5% to $777 million.
  • Indications are that 2017 will be another positive year for Yukon’s tourism sector.
  • Stronger growth in the Whitehorse CPI, expected to be up 1.9% in 2017.

Beyond 2017

  • GDP is expected to remain essentially flat at 0.2% for 2018, as a result of the closure of the Minto mine at the end of 2017, offset by government investment.
  • Development spending for two new mines (Eagle Gold, Coffee) and the start of production from the Eagle Gold mine expected to drive real GDP growth of 2.6% for 2019.
  • Steady population growth to continue with gains of 1.1% in 2018 and 1.4% in 2019.
  • Strength in labour market expected to continue, with growth in employment and the labour force, with the unemployment rate expected to remain relatively low.
  • Growth in retail sales anticipated in the medium term, increasing to exceed $790 million in 2018 and nearing $820 million in 2019.
  • Continued growth in the Whitehorse CPI, averaging 1.8% over 2018 and 2019.

[1] http://www.eco.gov.yk.ca/stats/pdf/populationDec_2016.pdf

[2] Annual figures derived June of each year.




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