Windsor economy shifts out of reverse: BMO
Unemployment rate expected to drop to pre-recession levels.
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.”
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