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Windsor economy shifts out of reverse: BMO

Unemployment rate expected to drop to pre-recession levels.


June 12, 2012
by PLANT STAFF

WINDSOR, Ont.: A decline in the fortunes of North America’s automotive industry hit Canada’s motor city pretty hard, but Windsor, Ont.’s economy is shifting out of reverse, according to a report by BMO Capital Markets Economics.

It forecasts 2,000 new jobs over the next four years and a decline in the unemployment rate of just over 8%, about 2% points above the Ontario average and near pre-recession levels.

An obvious bright spot is the automotive industry with production up 12% year-over-year in the first four months, which brings it back to pre-recession levels. Indeed, BMO notes Ford recently announced it will undergo a shorter-than-normal summer shutdown at a number of its plants (including the Essex Engine plant in Windsor) to meet improved demand.

Non-residential construction is another bright spot with construction beginning on the $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, which is expected to be open to traffic in late-2014. This will improve truck traffic through the major Canada-US border crossing.

Go-ahead is pending on construction of a $1 billion international bridge between Windsor and Detroit and existing home sales are running at consistent long-run norms. Average prices were up 10% year-over-year through April.

BMO said Windsor’s demographics remain a challenge, with recent population declines, but there have been gains in March and April for the first time since 2006, “a trend worth watching in the year ahead.”

Click here for the complete report.