Manitoba Improves as a Place to Invest



    WINNIPEG, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Manitoba's GDP increased by 3.3 per cent, tying
with Alberta for the highest growth among the western provinces, Ontario and
the national average over the past year, according to the MB Check-Up, an
annual economic analysis of the province as a place to live, work and invest
by the Chartered Accountants of Manitoba.
    "2007 was the fourth year in a row of rising real GDP growth in
Manitoba," said Gary Hannaford, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants
of Manitoba. "Strong domestic and international demand boosted Manitoba's
exports and business investment as a percent of GDP rose significantly as
well," he added.
    Private sector or business investment has an effect on long-term
productivity and competitiveness. Manitoba's business investment share of GDP
increased in both 2006 and 2007, a gain of 3.1 percentage points in two years
to 14.1 per cent.
    "Manitoba enjoys both a broad mix of products and a diverse market for
its exports. Although many of these products are priced in US dollars, the
rise in Manitoba's commodity prices outstripped any revenue losses due to a
strong Canadian dollar in 2007," said Hannaford.
    "And because Manitoba's economy is so diversified, it's well-positioned
to ride out the current market upheaval," Hannaford added. "That's not to say
it won't be affected but there is more of a buffer than other provinces whose
economies are based primarily on resources and manufacturing."
    The MB Check-Up shows that Manitoba had tremendous growth in most of the
invest indicators from 2006 to 2007. The one area where Manitoba lagged was in
the net provincial financial liabilities as percentage of GDP and in absolute
terms, while definitely improving, the province continues to sit at the middle
or bottom of the pack.
    Exports per worker, or the ratio of inflation-adjusted value of exports
to the number of workers in the labour force, grew faster in Manitoba than in
any other jurisdiction (2.6 per cent) in 2007. Over the past five years,
Manitoba's export receipts have risen steadily, resulting in a 12.5 per cent
gain in the real value of exports per worker, again the largest increase among
the reviewed districts.
    "These are impressive gains," Hannaford said. "However, the province
continues to rank fourth ($42,489) in absolute terms among the six comparison
jurisdictions.
    The MB Check-Up also shows that Manitoba had the largest increase in
productivity among the studied jurisdictions in 2007, with a one-year
productivity gain of 1.6 per cent. Despite this increase, Manitoba continues
to have the lowest productivity levels among the reviewed districts.
    In 2007, the proportion of high technology jobs in Manitoba rose to
5.6 per cent, its highest level in a decade.
    "Coming on the heels of two years of decline, this increase from 2006 was
the strongest showing of all the jurisdictions reviewed and underscores how
Manitoba's economy strengthened in 2007," Hannaford said.
    In 2006 (the most recent year for which data is available), Manitoba's
net financial liability/GDP ratio declined by 1.4 percentage points to
27.9 per cent. This one-year decline represents Manitoba's strongest
year-over-year decline in the past five years.
    However, at 27.9 per cent, Manitoba still has the highest net provincial
debt as a percentage of GDP among reviewed districts. Since 2002, the province
also saw the smallest decline (1.0 percentage points) in its net financial
liability/GDP ratio.
    The MB Check-Up also shows that Manitoba had the second-highest gain
(0.9 percentage points) after Saskatchewan (1.8 percentage points) in the
after-tax corporate profits to GDP ratio in 2007.
    "Manitoba's surge in pre-tax profitability can be attributed to soaring
prices and strong domestic and international demand for its products,"
Hannaford said. "Reduced corporate tax rates also boosted private sector
profitability in 2007," he added.
    The provincial general corporate tax rate declined from 14.5 per cent in
2006 to 14 per cent on July 1, 2007, and to 13 per cent on July 1, 2008,
although it still remains one of the highest general corporate tax rates of
the provinces reviewed. Manitoba's small business corporate tax rate declined
from 4.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent effective January 1, 2008.
    MB Check-Up is published annually by the Chartered Accountants of
Manitoba and provides an independent factual comparison of the four Western
provinces, together with Ontario and the Canadian average using 15 key
indicators to create a profile of each as a place to live, a place to work and
a place to invest. The second instalment of the report which deals with
Manitoba as a place to live will be released next week and the third section,
looking at Manitoba as a place to work, will be released the following week.

    With more than 2,700 members and over 300 CA students, the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Manitoba carries out its primary mission to protect
the public by ensuring that its members have the highest level of competence
and integrity as a result of demanding standards for admission to the
profession, its continuous learning policy and its inspection and discipline
processes. Thanks to the quality and rigor of their education and training,
CAs bring superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight
and leadership to every organization.





For further information:

For further information: Tanya Beck, Manager of Communications, p: (204)
924-4416, e: tbeck@icam.mb.ca

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