Manitoba, Maritime provinces to avoid recession in 2009



    www.conferenceboard.ca

    OTTAWA, July 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Maritime provinces and Manitoba are
the only Canadian provinces that will post economic growth this year-despite
the expected return to growth for Canada in the second half of 2009 -
according to the Conference Board's Provincial Outlook - Summer 2009.
    "The economies of Manitoba and the Maritime provinces are not prone to
boom-bust cycles, so they have been sheltered from the downturn. Economic
conditions deteriorated over the past few months in other provinces,
especially in Ontario and Saskatchewan," said Marie-Christine Bernard,
Associate Director, Provincial Outlook. "All provinces will recover slowly
over the next year. Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are
expected to post the strongest growth in 2010."
    Fuelled by new infrastructure investment and lower income taxes, New
Brunswick is expected to lead all provinces in 2009 with a 0.9 per cent
increase in real gross domestic product (GDP). The recent cancellation of a
new gasoline refinery - announced after the Conference Board completed its
forecast - is not expected to negatively affect New Brunswick's outlook this
year, but the announcement poses a downside risk to the province's performance
in 2010.
    Prince Edward Island is largely immune from the broader global downturn
in trade, and public spending will help the island's economy to grow by 0.8
per cent in 2009.
    Nova Scotia will skirt recession in 2009. Real GDP is forecast to advance
by 0.3 per cent this year, thanks to increased government spending and
non-residential investment - notably the $700 million Deep Panuke offshore
natural gas project.
    A construction boom that began four years ago in Manitoba will remain a
pillar of strength, leading to growth of 0.8 per cent this year. The
province's mining and manufacturing sectors are, however, feeling the effects
of the downturn.
    Central Canada's trade sector remains mired in recession, but the
weakness is located mainly in the auto, primary metal and forestry industries.
Quebec's exports will decline for the second straight year. The province's job
market, however, has held up compared to other provinces, and consumer
spending is expected to show small growth this year. Real GDP is forecast to
fall by 0.9 per cent in 2009.
    The Ontario economy is not out of the woods yet, but there are signs that
a floor is forming. Real GDP is expected to fall by 3.1 per cent this year. A
gradual recovery is expected in the last half of 2009, with consumer demand,
private investment and housing demand expected to rebound next year.
    After a stellar performance in 2008, Saskatchewan's economy is forecast
to decline by 2.7 per cent in 2009 - a significant downward revision from
growth of 0.2 per cent in the Spring 2009 outlook. The major reasons for the
decline are a massive reduction in potash extraction levels, combined with
drought-like conditions in certain parts of the province. Despite the downturn
in the primary sector, most other sectors are performing well and are
continuing to add to payroll - Saskatchewan's unemployment rate is still the
lowest among all the provinces. Next year, a rebound in the primary sector is
expected to support real GDP growth of 3.5 per cent, the strongest performance
of any province.
    Alberta and British Columbia have been on downward trends since early
2008, but there are signs that the worst is over in both provinces. In 2009,
B.C.'s economy is expected to post its largest contraction in 27 years - a
decline of 2.5 per cent. But real GDP is forecast to grow by 3.4 per cent next
year, thanks to a comeback in energy and residential construction, combined
with a modest recovery in forestry and manufacturing and the stimulus effects
of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    After falling 0.2 per cent in 2008, Alberta's economy will contract
another 2.7 per cent this year. But the province's struggles will be
short-lived, as growth of 3.3 per cent is forecast in 2010. Higher energy
prices and lower construction costs should spur oil and gas activity, which
will support a rebound in the domestic economy.
    Newfoundland and Labrador faces more job losses and deeper production
cuts than any other province, leading to a steep 3.4 per cent decline in real
GDP this year. Oil and gas production is expected to fall by 18 per cent this
year, and manufacturing output is also forecast to decline by almost 10 per
cent. Newfoundland and Labrador will also experience the slowest recovery of
all the provinces in 2010.





For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: (613)
526-3090 ext. 448, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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