Prairie cities to see most economic growth in 2014

OTTAWA, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, and Saskatoon will lead Canadian metropolitan areas in economic growth in 2014. However, the economies of most cities in central and eastern Canada are expected to grow faster this year than in 2013. The Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2014, released today, is The Conference Board of Canada's once-a-year simultaneous analysis of 28 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

"Along with Calgary, prairie cities will have the fastest growing economies in 2014, although that growth is expected to moderate," said Alan Arcand, Principal Economist, Centre for Municipal Studies.

"Most cities in central and eastern Canada will see their economic fortunes improve this year. The growing strength in the U.S. economy and a slightly weaker dollar will help to stimulate exporting activity and in turn bolster economic growth."

Growth to Moderate in Prairie Cities
The devastating flood in the summer of 2013 temporarily shut down the city of Calgary and resulted in slower growth for the year as a whole. In 2014, Calgary's economy is expected to improve slightly, thanks to broad-based growth in most industries, including accelerating activity in both construction and manufacturing. Economic growth in Calgary is on track to rise by 3.7 per in 2014, the fastest among the 28 CMAs covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook.

The construction of a new professional football stadium will help boost Regina's construction sector. However, GDP growth is forecast to rise by a more moderate 3.5 per cent this year, down from 5 per cent in 2013, as growth slows in manufacturing and in the overall services sector.

Economic growth in Edmonton is set to moderate from 4.6 per cent in 2013 to a still-solid 3.4 per cent this year. Energy activity will continue to drive gains in the city's primary and manufacturing sectors. Even though employment growth is expected to slow, domestic demand will remain strong.

Following impressive growth of 6.5 per cent in 2013, Saskatoon's GDP will expand by 3.2 per cent this year, as ongoing strength in the services sector is offset by slower activity on the goods-side of the economy.

Real GDP in Winnipeg is forecast to rise 2 per cent this year, up from 1.6 per cent in 2013, thanks to stronger growth in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and public administration.

Renewed Strength in Manufacturing Supporting Growth in Ontario
CMAs Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo's economy will grow by 2.9 per cent this year, as construction starts on a light-rail system and manufacturing regains its stride.

Stronger growth in manufacturing and in many services industries will lift GDP growth to 2.8 per cent in Toronto in 2014, up from 1.9 per cent last year.

Renewed demand for goods produced in Oshawa is expected to boost growth in both manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. Oshawa's economy is expected to expand by 2.6 per cent in 2014, following a 1.8 per cent gain in 2013.

Hamilton is forecast to grow by 2.5 per cent this year, a big improvement over the 0.7 increase in 2013. The opening of Maple Leaf's new processing plant will help lift manufacturing output and, in turn, support a turnaround in transportation and warehousing this year.

Economic activity has been disappointing in London, St. Catharines-Niagara, and Kingston in recent years. While all three cities are expected to see stronger GDP gains this year, thanks in part to a recovery in manufacturing, growth will remain below the national average. GDP growth is expected to reach 2 per cent, 1.9 per cent, and 1.8 per cent, respectively, in London, St. Catharines-Niagara, and Kingston.

Sudbury's economy is forecast to grow by 1.6 per cent this year, as increased mining activity boosts the CMA's primary and utilities, and manufacturing sectors.

Although Windsor's economy is expected to pick up in 2014, led by improvements in manufacturing and construction, growth will remain moderate at 1.6 per cent.

For the second year in a row, Thunder Bay's GDP will expand by 1.5 per cent in 2014, thanks to gains in non-residential construction and manufacturing.

Thousands of public service job cuts limited economic growth to just 0.3 per cent in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2013. With fewer public sector layoffs expected this year and with non-residential construction activity expected to pick up, GDP growth is forecast to improve to 1.4 per cent.

Modest Growth Expected in Quebec
Following three years of growth below 2 per cent, Montreal's economy is forecast to expand by 2.2 per cent in 2014, led by improvements in the manufacturing and construction sectors. In Québec City, growth in the goods sector will help boost the city's economy by 2 per cent in 2014, up from 0.8 per cent in 2013.

Strength in manufacturing and in the overall services sector will help lift the economies of Sherbrooke and Saguenay by 2.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, in 2014.

Real GDP growth in Trois-Rivières is forecast to rise 0.5 per cent in 2014 after two years of contraction.

Non-Residential Construction Boosts Growth in British Columbia's CMAs
Abbotsford-Mission's economy will expand by 2.9 per cent in 2014, thanks in particular to gains in primary and utilities output.

Vancouver and Victoria will both benefit from rebounds in non-residential construction and improvements in the services sector. In 2014, Vancouver's economy is forecast to expand by 2.8 per cent, while Victoria's real GDP growth will come in at 1.8 per cent.

Stronger Growth in Store for Most Atlantic Canadian Cities
With production at the Deep Panuke site ramping up this year, Halifax's economy is forecast to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2014, following a 1.9 per cent expansion last year.

Moncton's GDP growth will improve from 1.7 per cent in 2013 to 2 per cent in 2014, thanks in part to a recovery in transportation and warehousing.

Increased energy production at Point Lepreau will fuel growth of 1.8 per cent in Saint John this year, the region's strongest growth in four years.

St. John's boasted one of the fastest growing economies in 2013, with total output expanding by 6 per cent. But natural production declines in the offshore oil industry and lower construction output will limit growth to 1.7 per cent this year.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

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Yvonne Squires
Media Relations
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