OTTAWA, March 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Alberta finds itself in an enviable position. Both its exports and domestic economy are expanding rapidly and the province is expected to have the fastest growing provincial economy this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Provincial Outlook - Winter 2014.
"The economic outlook for the rest of the provinces is mixed. Solid growth in the U.S. economy and a slightly weaker Canadian dollar will help exporters, but growth prospects in the resources sector are uneven across the country," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast.
The strength in Alberta's energy sector will continue to stimulate the economy. A total of 61,000 new jobs are forecast in 2014, which will continue to attract newcomers to the province, in turn boosting consumer spending and housing demand. Alberta's real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to rise by 3.2 per cent in 2014. A risk to the forecast is the delay in pipeline development. Oil pipeline capacity remains a challenge for Alberta and without the construction of new pipelines, future investment in the oil and gas sector could be curtailed.
British Columbia's forestry and manufacturing sectors are benefiting from a rebound in home construction in the United States. These sectors will help B.C.'s economy grow by 2.4 per cent this year, an improvement from less than 2 per cent growth in 2013.
Saskatchewan's economic growth is expected to moderate this year from 4.1 per cent in 2013, due to cuts in potash production and muted prospects for the agriculture sector. However, gains in metal mining, construction and manufacturing will help support growth of 2.1 per cent in 2014.
Manitoba's economy is forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2014. Growth in construction, manufacturing, and in the service sector, will help boost employment and disposable income in the province.
Ontario's real GDP is set to increase by 2.1 per cent, thanks to a rebound in exports and solid growth in commercial and financial services. However, Ontario's exports will be limited by trends in the North American auto industry. Auto makers have been shifting production to the southern U.S. and Mexico, and that has reduced vehicle manufacturing in Ontario.
A more positive outlook for business investment will lift Quebec's economy by 2 per cent in both 2014 and 2015. A number of large investment projects have been announced, which will stimulate investment spending on non-residential structures, and machinery and equipment.
Prospects for New Brunswick's economy will remain dim for at least one more year. Cuts in the potash industry, and the closing of the Maple Leaf Food plant in Moncton, will limit economic growth to 0.8 per cent in 2014.
Following three years of weak growth, Nova Scotia's economy is set to pick up speed in 2014. The province's economy is forecast to expand by 2.6 per cent this year, fuelled largely by natural gas production from the Deep Panuke offshore field and solid gains in business non-residential investment in structures.
Prince Edward Island's economy will see weaker growth of 1.2 per cent in 2014. The Island's manufacturing, construction and agricultural industries are expected to post slower growth this year.
With work winding down on Vale's nickel processing facility, construction activity in Newfoundland and Labrador is set to slow down. Coupled with declining metal mining production, overall real GDP is expected to grow by only 0.4 in 2014.
Image with caption: "Real GDP by Province in 2014 (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140320_C6148_PHOTO_EN_38161.jpg
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
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