Manufacturing to boost growth in Ontario, Quebec cities

Conference Board of Canada says strong energy sector makes Calgary and Edmonton fastest growing cities.

September 19, 2012   by PLANT STAFF

OTTAWA — Two Alberta cities are forecast to grow fastest over the next four years thanks in large part to energy related investment, but manufacturing is also boosting growth in Ontario and Quebec, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook-Autumn 2012.

The Ottawa-based research firm said Edmonton and Calgary will be the fastest growing metropolitan areas for the next four years, citing $29-billion worth of energy-related projects under way in Alberta, and nearly $86-billion worth of projects proposed for the future.

“Other Western cities, including Saskatoon, Regina and Vancouver, are expected to grow strongly in the years to come. Toronto’s economic performance is expected to rival that of its high-flying western counterparts, and manufacturing sectors are showing signs of revival in Montreal, Hamilton, Halifax and Winnipeg over the next few years, ” said Mario Lefebvre, director of the Conference Board’s Centre for Municipal Studies.

However, he said growth in cities such as Ottawa, Quebec City and Victoria will be affected by ongoing public sector restraint.”

The report says Toronto’s economy will benefit from a continued recovery in the manufacturing sector, combined with a healthy housing market and a number of nonresidential construction projects. Overall, economic growth is expected to come in at 2.3% this year. Medium-term, the economy is expected to grow by an average of 3.1% annually for the next four years, the fastest pace of expansion east of Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg’s manufacturing sector is expected to expand for the first time since 2008. Combined with healthy gains in home construction, the report notes Winnipeg’s real GDP growth will accelerate from 1.3% in 2011 to 2% this year.

Hamilton’s GDP is forecast to expand by 2.5% this year, thanks to renewed demand for steel and growth in several other manufacturing industries.

Montréal’s manufacturing sector is poised for 2.6% growth this year, its best result since 2000. But a sluggish construction industry and slower growth in the services sector will limit overall economic growth to 1.2%.

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