OTTAWA, March 3, 2016 /CNW/ - The economies of Ottawa-Gatineau and Kingston are slowly improving following years of tepid growth. Ottawa-Gatineau's real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to climb by 1.7 per cent this year, up from 1 per cent in 2015, while Kingston's economy is expected to expand by 1.8 per cent, following growth of 1.3 per cent in 2015, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2016.
"Both Ottawa-Gatineau and Kingston can expect to see their strongest gains in years, thanks in part to a more positive outlook for public sector activity in 2016, a major segment in both cities," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada.
- Ottawa-Gatineau's real GDP growth is forecast to improve to 1.7 per cent in 2016, up from 1 per cent last year.
- Kingston's economy is forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent this year, the strongest increase since 2010.
- Vancouver's real GDP is forecast to grow 3.3 per cent, making it the fastest growing economy among the 28 census metropolitan areas covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook.
Between 2012 and 2015, real gross domestic product in the National Capital Region expanded by an annual average rate of only 0.7 per cent as the federal government cut back on departmental budgets in an effort to eliminate the deficit. But the federal government has now signalled its willingness to run deficits to stimulate the economy. That said, the fiscal stimulus is expected to target infrastructure spending and not general spending per se, which will limit its impact on the national capital region. All in all, the outlook for public administration spending in the region is slightly more positive. After shrinking for four straight years, public administration output is forecast to eke out a 0.3 per cent increase this year. The region's economy will also benefit from robust non-residential construction activity, thanks to several major ongoing projects including the $2.1 billion light rail project. Positive momentum in the high-tech services sector, thanks in part to local success stories like Kinaxis and Shopify, is another driver of growth. All in all, Ottawa's real GDP growth is forecast to improve to 1.7 per cent in 2016, up from 1 per cent last year. Unfortunately, job growth will remain modest this year at 0.6 per cent, similar to the 0.7 per cent increase in 2015.
Kingston's economy is forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent this year, the strongest increase since 2010. The gains will be broad-based, with construction, manufacturing and services contributing to growth. The construction sector is expected to be the city's top performer, with an increase in housing starts and several non-residential projects fuelling output growth of 3.8 per cent this year. Meanwhile, Kingston's largest industry, the non-commercial services sector, which includes education and health care, is poised to expand by 2 per cent this year, following a 0.6 per cent contraction last year. In addition, the low Canadian dollar and healthy U.S. economy will help Kingston's manufacturing sector continue its slow recovery. The sector will also get a boost when Frulact, a Portuguese food manufacturer opens a new preparation and processing plant in Kingston this fall. About 1,200 jobs are expected to be created this year, in line with 2015's 1,300 new positions.
Released today, Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2016, is The Conference Board of Canada's once-a-year analysis of 28 Canadian census metropolitan areas.
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