OTTAWA, June 30, 2015 /CNW/ - The economies of Sault Ste. Marie and Rimouski will continue to gain strength this year, while Timmins can expect growth to remain healthy, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2015.
"Key sectors in the economies of Sault Ste. Marie and Rimouski are expected to show improvement this year, thanks in part to a weaker Canadian dollar and solid U.S. economy," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. "These factors will also help offset the negative impact of lower metal prices for Timmins' mining industry."
- After expanding by 1 per cent in 2014, Sault Ste. Marie's real GDP is expected to grow by 1.5 per cent this year and next.
- Timmins' economy is forecast to expand by 2.4 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent in 2016.
- Real GDP growth in Rimouski is forecast to accelerate from 1.1 per cent last year to 1.7 per cent in 2015.
Sault Ste. Marie's goods sector is forecast to post its first gain since 2011, thanks to positive outlooks for both manufacturing and construction. The city's manufacturing industry is benefiting from a weaker Canadian dollar and solid U.S. economy. Things are also looking up for the local construction industry thanks to projects such as the $50-million construction of the new St. Mary's College, road and sewer repair work, and various commercial building projects. Overall, Sault Ste. Marie's real GDP is expected to expand by 1.5 per cent this year and next, following growth of 1 per cent in 2014.
The Timmins economy is expected to post solid growth over the next two years, with real GDP forecast to rise 2.4 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent in 2016. Despite weaker metal prices, mining companies are continuing with exploration work in the area, while production is rising at some mines. Thus, output will continue to climb in both the resources and manufacturing sectors. At the same time, consumers are expected to increase spending, thanks to a gain in employment of 1.6 per cent this year. The city's construction industry is also forecast to be stronger this year, with output growth of 2.8 per cent expected in 2015.
Rimouski's economic growth is expected to pick up from 1.1 per cent last year to 1.7 per cent in 2015. The services sector is expected to increase 1.6 per cent in 2015, the first expansion in over 10 years. Likewise, positive results are anticipated this year for the local construction sector, where output is forecast to expand by 1.2 per cent. The stronger economy will drive solid employment growth of 1.2 per cent this year.
The Mid-Sized Cities Outlook provides economic forecasts for seven cities that contributed financially to the research — Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Brandon, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Rimouski. It also includes historical economic and employment data for 32 mid-sized Canadian cities.
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