Canada’s digital economy is growing much faster than the rest of the economy, and is already bigger than staple industries such as mining, forestry and oil and gas.
That’s one of the main takeaways from a new Statistics Canada report released Friday that looked at the impact of technology-focused parts of the economy that are becoming increasingly important in the country’s overall economic picture.
While it’s not an industry on its own per se, the data agency defines the digital economy as any economic activity that is either affected by or enabling digitization. So the term would include everything from e-commerce to telecommunications, and software to consumer and business services that are provided over the internet.
Digital economy worth over $109B
All in all, Statistics Canada calculates that as of 2017, Canada’s digital economy was worth $109.7 billion, or about 5.5 per cent of the entire economy that year.
That’s a bigger economic bite than mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (4.8 per cent), or retail (five per cent) or the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector took (at 1.8 per cent.)
It still lags behind manufacturing (10 per cent), construction (8.1 per cent) health care (7.5 per cent), and finance and insurance (6.7 per cent).
Between 2010 and 2017, Canada’s digital economy grew by 40.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said. That compares with 28 per cent in the rest of the economy. The digital economy outpaced the rest of the economy every year in that time frame except in 2011 and 2017, two years that saw strong growth in the energy sector.
E-commerce more than triples
Within the digital economy, telecommunications is the biggest sector, but it’s getting caught by other parts. E-commerce is the fastest-growing segment, going from $4.2 billion in 2010 to more than $13.6 billion in 2017.
All that economic activity is leading to jobs, too.
Statistics Canada tabulated there were 886,114 jobs in the digital economy in 2017, about 4.7 per cent of all the jobs that year — and almost three times the 329,600 people who worked in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas that year.
The digital job market is growing faster than the regular one, too. Its job market grew by 37 per cent between 2010 and 2017. That compares to 8.6 per cent growth in the rest of the economy over that period.
The digital economy also grew in every province and territory, except in three places — Manitoba, Yukon and Nunavut — it grew by less than the rest of the economy did.
This story originally appeared on CBC