Manufacturing and Housing Will Lead the Way for Manitoba, Says BMO Economics



    WINNIPEG, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Strength in residential and non-residential
construction, a sturdy manufacturing sector, combined with solid mining
activity will lead to growth of 2.7 per cent this year, according to a
provincial economics report released today by BMO Financial Group.
    "While the Canadian manufacturing sector continues to sour amid a strong
dollar, high energy prices and sputtering U.S. growth, Manitoba's slice of the
pie is surprisingly sweet," according to Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief
Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Also, with commodity exploration also strong,
the demand for labour in the province continues to outstrip supply, and some
surveys suggest that 80 per cent of businesses expect difficulty finding
workers in the coming year."
    Manitoba posted another year of solid 3.3 per cent growth in 2007, buoyed
by strength in both residential and non-residential construction, along with a
sturdy manufacturing sector. BMO's economics report projects that the strength
in those sectors, combined with solid mining activity, will ensure only a
modest slowdown to 2.7 per cent in 2008.

    Other highlights of the report include:

    
    -  Construction activity was the main pillar of strength in 2007 and, on
       both the residential and non-residential sides, looks to continue this
       year. With Alberta now cooling and Saskatchewan grabbing all the
       attention, Manitoba's housing market has quietly climbed up the
       leaderboard to become one of the strongest in the country.
    -  Led by components related to the new Boeing 787, and a global upgrade
       cycle, aerospace and transportation manufacturing have shipments up
       nearly 9 per cent year-over-year through November-trailing only
       Newfoundland & Labrador-momentum that should carry over through most
       of this year.
    -  The Manitoba government is projecting a $298 million summary budget
       surplus for fiscal 2007/2008, up from an estimated $166 million in the
       previous year. S&P upgraded the province to AA from AA- (positive) on
       December 5th.
    

    The complete report can be found at www.bmocm.com/economics.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Lucie Gosselin,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224, Internet: www.bmo.com


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