British Columbia's economy to top the podium in 2010

OTTAWA, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Buoyed by the Vancouver Winter Olympics and a rebound in the forestry sector, British Columbia is expected to stand on top of the podium for economic growth next year, according to the Conference Board's Provincial Outlook - Autumn 2009.

"Most provinces are still struggling to exit the recession. The Maritimes and Manitoba have avoided the boom-bust cycle, and Prince Edward Island is forecast to lead the country in growth in 2009," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Outlook. "Although the recovery is still fragile, weaknesses will dissipate in the next few months, and all provincial economies with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to grow in 2010."

British Columbia's economy is expected to decline by two per cent in 2009, but a recovery is expected to begin in the second half of the year. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow by 4.2 per cent in 2010, due to a comeback in the construction sector, recoveries in forestry and manufacturing, and hosting the Winter Olympic Games.

Potash production in Saskatchewan is down by almost 65 per cent since the start of the year, leading to a decline of 2.6 per cent in real GDP. But potash production is expected to rebound next year, and the Saskatchewan economy is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent in 2010.

Many of Ontario's industries are still struggling, but growth in the province's economy is expected in the second half of 2009. Public infrastructure spending is playing a large role in the recovery. After contracting in 2008 and 2009, real GDP is forecast to grow by 3.2 per cent in 2010.

Alberta's economy suffered badly during the recession, but higher oil prices will spur oil sands development in 2010, benefitting the manufacturing and services sectors. After declining by 2.6 per cent in 2009, Alberta's real GDP is forecast to grow by three per cent next year.

Quebec was not hit as hard by the recession as Ontario and the western provinces - its economy is expected to contract by 1.4 per cent this year. In 2010, improving labour markets and strong non-residential investment in gold mining projects and electricity-generating capacity will help produce growth of 2.4 per cent.

The Maritime Provinces and Manitoba avoided recession altogether this year, but their recoveries in 2010 will be modest compared to other provinces. Manitoba's economy will grow by 0.5 per cent in 2009, thanks largely to a strong construction sector. Aided by gains in the service sector, growth of 2.5 per cent is forecast next year.

Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are forecast to post growth of 0.4 per cent in 2009. Next year, New Brunswick's real GDP is expected to grow by two per cent, due government spending and a long-awaited rebound in the forestry and manufacturing sectors. Infrastructure spending in support of the construction sector will produce growth of 1.9 per cent in Nova Scotia in 2010.

Due largely to public spending, Prince Edward Island's real GDP growth of 0.9 per cent in 2009 is forecast to lead all provinces in 2009. The island's growth will accelerate slightly to 1.8 per cent in 2010.

Sharp declines in forestry, mining and manufacturing will send Newfoundland and Labrador's economy tumbling by 3.6 per cent in 2009. In 2010, declining offshore oil production and weaker construction activity will lead to a further decline of 0.5 per cent in real GDP.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

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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