Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge ahead of the pack

BMO report predicts 13,000 news jobs by the end of 2016.

March 1, 2013   by PLANT STAFF

Toyota is investing $100 million to expand its Lexus plant in Cambridge. Photo: Toyota

KITCHENER, Ont.: The next three years will bring 13,000 new jobs to the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area in Ontario, according to a new report by BMO Economics.

The report, one in a series of economic, housing and business overviews for various cities and regions across Canada, shows the region outperforming both the Ontario average and its peers in southwestern Ontario.

Robert Kavcic, a senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said better US economic momentum in the second half of the year should lend support to the local manufacturing sector.

“Looking out over the medium term, the region will likely see more than 13,000 jobs created by the end of 2016, pulling the unemployment rate down to 6% – a full percentage point below the Ontario average.”

Janet Peddigrew, BMO’s district vice-president for mid-western Ontario, noted local businesses are making important investments in new equipment, expanding their operations and hiring people “and they tell us they will continue to do so.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

• Employment grew 1% in 2012, outpacing the provincial average.

• Construction activity has cooled after a period of above-average government stimulus spending. However long-term construction of the $818 million LRT line connecting Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo will boost activity.

• There are currently over 2,000 apartment units under construction versus 282 single-detached homes.

• Real GDP is expected to expand 1.7% in 2013, but momentum should pick up later in the year once growth south of the border begins to run at 3%.

• Stronger US economic momentum in the second half of 2012 should lend support to manufacturing. Recent announcements point to continued growth. For example, Toyota is investing $100 million and is expected to hire 400 employees to expand its Lexus plant in Cambridge.

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