OTTAWA, Jan. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina
will benefit from solid global demand for their local resources to post
the strongest economic growth among Canadian cities in 2012. The Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2012, released today, is The Conference Board of Canada's once-a-year
simultaneous analysis of 27 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs).
"In spite of global economic turmoil, high prices for agricultural
products, minerals and oil are likely to continue. Canada's prairie
cities will reap the benefits of this global demand for commodities,"
said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies.
"The outlook is not as promising for cities in central and eastern
Canada. The uncertain global economy, a continued slow recovery in the
manufacturing sector and the windup of fiscal stimulus introduced by
governments in recent years will hamper overall economic growth."
Resource Boom Boosts Prairie Cities
Saskatoon is forecast to lead the country in economic growth this year,
but the four per cent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP)
forecast in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook is actually a slowdown from the estimated 4.6 per cent gain in 2011.
The province's booming primary sector is supporting gains in all
industries, and employment is expected to grow by almost five per cent
Continued strong growth in Alberta's energy sector and solid domestic
demand will boost Calgary's real GDP by 3.6 per cent in 2012. In 2013,
the Calgary CMA is forecast to lead all Canadian cities with growth of
4.9 per cent.
The Edmonton economy created almost 40,000 jobs last year alone - a six
per cent increase - which will help to support domestic demand entering
2012. Strong energy activity will also contribute to real GDP growth of
3.4 per cent in 2012.
Regina's economy grew by more than five per cent in 2011, second only to
St. John's. Growth will ease to 2.9 per cent in 2012, which ranks
Regina fourth among Canadian CMAs. Strong employment growth is drawing
migrants to the city, boding well for housing demand and consumer
Winnipeg is expected to rank in the top half of Canadian CMAs for
economic growth in 2012. Winnipeg's manufacturing sector is forecast to
post its best performance since 2007, which will help lift overall
economic growth to 2.4 per cent in 2012.
Global Uncertainty Weighs Heavily on Ontario CMAs
Despite the slow U.S. recovery and the strong Canadian dollar, Toronto
and Oshawa's manufacturing sectors are expected to post decent gains
this year. Nevertheless, manufacturing output in both cities will
remain well below peak levels. In addition, construction activity in
both CMAs will be dampened by the winding down of public infrastructure
Oshawa's manufacturing sector will receive a boost from the start of
production on a new General Motors model. All in all, Oshawa's economy
is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2012.
Toronto's economy is forecast to grow by a 2.6 per cent this year, a
modest improvement on 2011. As world markets recover, the Toronto
economy should improve by four per cent in 2013, with growth widespread
across all sectors.
Belt-tightening by the federal government will have a noticeable effect
on Ottawa-Gatineau's 2012 outlook. Public administration employment
fell by two per cent in 2011, and is forecast to decline by 3.6 per
cent this year—a cumulative loss of 9,000 jobs over these two years. As
a result, real GDP growth is expected to come in at a modest 1.8 per
cent in 2012, only a slight improvement over 2011.
Kitchener-Waterloo's economy is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in
2012. Although the region's manufacturing sector is in transition, it
is expected to post another year of steady growth. The CMA will also
continue to benefit from sound population growth, which will support
housing demand and consumer spending.
The $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway project will lift overall
economic growth in the Windsor CMA to 2.5 per cent this year. In
addition to double-digit growth in construction sector output,
employment is forecast to increase by an average of 2.3 per cent in
2012 and 2013.
Growth in Hamilton's manufacturing sector will be limited by the shaky
global economy. Real GDP is expected to increase by two per cent in
2012, a slight increase from 2011.
London continues to face a slow recovery from the 2008-09 recession.
Real GDP is forecast to increase by 1.7 per cent in 2012 (which is in
itself an improvement over 2011), but this growth is still well below
London's long-term annual average of 2.5 per cent.
Weakness in the construction sector will limit Kingston's economic
growth to 1.5 per cent in 2012, the fourth year in the past five that
the CMA's real GDP will increase by less than two per cent.
A drop in construction output will restrict economic growth in St.
Catharines-Niagara to 1.4 per cent in 2012.
In the Northern Ontario CMAs, moderate growth in the mining and
construction sectors will result in GDP growth of two per cent in
Sudbury this year. Thunder Bay's real GDP is forecast to increase by
1.7 per cent in 2012, the highest growth rate in the CMA over the past
Modest Growth Expected in Quebec
Quebec City's economy is expected to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2012, a
modest acceleration in growth from last year's estimated 1.9 per cent
advance. After a strong performance in 2011, construction output growth
will ease this year before accelerating in 2013 - thanks to the planned
construction of a new arena.
Montréal's economy will expand by two per cent in 2012, due in part to a
third consecutive year of growth in the manufacturing sector. This will
help offset an expected downturn in the construction industry.
Trois Rivières is expected to post real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent in
2012. The primary driver of growth will be Hydro-Québec's planned $1.9
billion refurbishment of the Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor, which is
forecast to boost construction output substantially.
Sherbrooke's economy weathered the global recession better than many
other Canadian cities. Manufacturing continues to recover from a
lengthy downturn throughout the 2000s, but weaker construction output
will limit Sherbrooke's real GDP growth to 1.8 per cent in 2012.
Saguenay's economy will expand by 1.5 per cent this year, its best
performance since 2002. The CMA's manufacturing sector is expected to
resume growth in 2012, boosting employment in the sector. The brightest
development in Saguenay has to be the return of positive population
growth in both 2010 and 2011. As a result, domestic demand has been
stronger and should continue to expand in 2012, leading to an almost 2
per cent rise in overall services sector output.
Fiscal Restraint Slows Growth in British Columbia CMAs
A weaker outlook in the construction industry will hold real GDP growth
to 2.6 per cent this year in Vancouver, down slightly from the
estimated 2.9 per cent increase recorded in 2011. An expected decline
in residential construction activity and the winding down of the
federal government's infrastructure program will more than offset
growth in the manufacturing and services sectors. Abbotsford-Mission
will also feel the effects of lower government investment spending -
the CMA is expected to post economic growth of 2.5 per cent in 2012,
only marginally better than its 2011 performance of 2.4 per cent.
In Victoria, the provincial government's ongoing commitment to fiscal
restraint - combined with declining output in the construction sector -
will produce a 1.9 per cent increase in real GDP in 2012, the CMA's
second consecutive year of growth below two per cent.
Growth in St. John's Tumbles in 2012
After two spectacular years, the St. John's economy has limited growth
prospects this year. St. John's led the CMA growth rankings in both
2010 and 2011, thanks in part to 25 per cent annual average growth in
construction output over that period. Waning offshore oil production
wells, fewer housing starts, and the end of the infrastructure spending
program will weaken economic growth to just 0.7 per cent this year,
lowest among the 27 CMAS covered in the Metropolitan Outlook.
Halifax's real GDP growth will ease from 2.6 per cent in 2011 to 2.4 per
cent this year. Activity at the Halifax Shipyard will decline in 2012
following two strong years. However, work on new naval frigates
beginning in 2013 will help boost the outlook in subsequent years.
Saint John will post its second consecutive year of modest growth in
2012, with the economy forecast to expand by just 1.8 per cent.
Although the services sector is forecast to post a decent gain, ongoing
weakness in the construction sector is expected to hold growth back in
the goods sector.
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448