New Brunswick continues to energize its economy, says RBC Economics



    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - According to the latest provincial economic
outlook released today by RBC, New Brunswick's economic growth is expected to
hover around 2.5 per cent for the next couple of years.
    "Already home to the country's biggest oil refinery, the impact of a
second one would have significant economic implications for the province
starting in 2009 if it proceeds," said Craig Wright, vice-president and chief
economist, RBC. "New Brunswick could emerge as a critical energy hub servicing
the U.S. northeast market for oil and gas."
    The province's economy continues to be driven by several major
energy-related projects including the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau
nuclear plant and construction at the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John. The
report noted that for the next several years, current and potential major
projects could add a further $7.4 billion in capital expenditures, almost $900
million in direct labour income, and create significant employment growth for
the economy.
    Investments such as Point Lepreau and Canaport generate significant
employment and business opportunities during both construction and operation,
including billions of dollars in spin-off activities. Some of that spin-off
activity includes jobs in the wholesale trade, transportation, construction
(through ongoing repairs and maintenance) and retail sectors -- all combining
to provide promising and sustainable growth prospects in the region for years
to come.
    For the overall Canadian economy, RBC forecasts that the gap between
growth in the more heavily resource based provinces and central Canada will
narrow over 2007-08. Newfoundland and Labrador will be the leader this year
with growth of four per cent followed by Alberta at 3.6 per cent. Prince
Edward Island and Ontario will be at the back of the pack, each with growth
rates of about two per cent.
    The RBC Economics Provincial Outlook assesses the provinces according to
economic growth, employment growth, unemployment rates, personal income
growth, retail sales, housing starts and the Consumer Price Index.
    According to the report (available online as of 8 a.m. E.D.T., at
www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/provfcst.pdf), provincial forecast details
are as follows:


    
                     Real                Housing              Retail
                     GDP                 starts               sales

                                        Thousands
               06     07     08     06     07     08     06     07     08
               --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.     3.5    4.0    1.5    2.2    2.1    2.0    2.9    2.0    2.0
    P.E.I     1.9    1.9    1.7    0.7    0.7    0.7    4.0    2.1    2.1
    N.S.      2.4    2.4    2.3    4.9    4.5    4.4    6.3    3.5    3.0
    N.B.      2.5    2.4    2.6    4.1    3.8    3.9    5.5    3.2    3.2
    QUE.      2.0    2.1    2.7   47.9   42.1   43.0    4.6    4.1    4.0
    ONT.      1.3    2.0    3.1   73.4   66.8   67.7    4.0    4.2    5.8
    MAN.      3.4    2.7    2.9    5.0    4.5    4.3    5.8    4.2    4.1
    SASK.     3.6    2.8    2.9    3.7    3.4    3.3    5.9    5.0    4.5
    ALTA.     6.5    3.6    3.2   49.0   44.0   41.4   16.0    9.3    8.0
    B.C.      4.7    3.4    3.4   36.4   33.9   33.8    6.2    6.6    6.3
    CANADA    2.7    2.5    3.0    229    207    206    6.2    5.2    5.2


                  Employment              CPI

               06     07     08     06     07     08
               --     --     --     --     --     --
    NFLD.     0.7    0.5    0.1    1.8    1.2    1.4
    P.E.I.    0.6    0.6    0.4    2.2    1.0    1.3
    N.S.     -0.3    0.8    0.3    2.1    1.3    1.3
    N.B.      1.4    1.2    0.4    1.6    1.1    1.4
    QUE.      1.3    1.2    0.9    1.7    0.8    2.2
    ONT.      1.5    1.4    1.2    1.8    1.0    2.4
    MAN.      1.2    0.8    0.6    1.9    0.9    1.8
    SASK.     1.7    2.1    0.8    2.0    1.2    2.0
    ALTA.     4.8    3.8    1.6    3.9    3.0    2.6
    B.C.      3.1    3.0    2.0    1.8    1.9    2.8
    CANADA    2.0    1.8    1.2    2.0    1.7    2.4
    





For further information:

For further information: Craig Wright, RBC Economics, (416) 974-7457;
Derek Holt, RBC Economics, (416) 974-6192; Jackie Braden, RBC Media Relations,
(416) 974-2124


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