OTTAWA, Nov. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Halifax's economy is on track to grow by 2.6 per cent in 2016, the third strongest performance among the 13 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) covered in this edition of The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Autumn 2016. Next year looks similarly promising, as real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecast to reach 2.5 per cent in 2017.
"Halifax continues to reap the benefits of a diverse economy, as most sectors are expected to contribute positively to growth this year and next," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada. "That said, manufacturing remains a standout performer, as the multibillion-dollar federal government shipbuilding contract continues to drive vigorous growth in this industry."
- Halifax's economy is forecast to grow by 2.6 per cent his year and by 2.5 per cent in 2017.
- The city's manufacturing sector is expected to advance by more than 5 per cent this year and next.
- Vancouver will have the fastest-growing metropolitan economy for this year and next, with growth of 4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.
Halifax's manufacturing sector is poised to advance by more than 5 per cent this year, with an even stronger 6.7 per cent gain on tap for 2017. Manufacturing continues to receive a big lift from the work taking place at the Halifax Shipyard on several new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy, part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Assembly of the first of six Arctic offshore patrol ships got underway in 2015 year, with the final one expected to be completed by 2018.
Conditions in Halifax's construction sector have been similarly strong this year, although a moderation is in the cards for 2017. Robust activity in the non-residential sector will more than offset a fairly big decline in housing starts, driving total construction output growth of 5.7 per cent this year, the sector's largest annual gain in 12 years. This will be followed by a more moderate but still healthy gain of 3 per cent in 2017, fueled partly be a modest recovery in housing starts.
The Halifax services sector, which accounts for about 85 per cent of total economic activity, is also posting healthy growth. In fact, output in the services-producing industries is expected to rise by 2.4 per cent this year and by a further 2.3 per cent in 2017. Although most industries are contributing positively to growth, wholesale and retail trade is on track to post the fastest advance this year, with finance, insurance and real estate projected to make that claim in 2017.
Halifax's economy is expected to create an average of 2,300 jobs over 2016-17, which is nearly identical to the previous 10-year average. However, similar increases in the labour force, which may reflect optimism about future job prospects, will keep the unemployment rate fairly stable over the near term.
Vancouver is expected to boast the fastest-growing metropolitan economy this year and next, among the 13 metro areas covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook. At the other end of the spectrum, the economies of Calgary and Edmonton are expected to contract for a second year in a row in 2016, before rebounding modestly next year.
Join Alan Arcand on November 22, 2016 for a webinar, Beyond Slogans: Comparing Canadian Cities to the World's Best, which describes how five Canadian cities—Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax—compare economically and socially against some of the leading metropolitan areas in the world.
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