OTTAWA, July 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Moncton and Saint John are among the five fastest-growing medium-sized metropolitan economies in Canada this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Summer 2015. On the other hand, St. John's, Newfoundland is on track to post the slowest economic growth among the 15 cities covered in the report.
"St. John's economy will feel the effects of the drop in oil prices and lower production due to the maturation of existing offshore oil fields," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada. "Moncton and Saint John, on the other hand, are set to benefit from a recovery in manufacturing."
- Among the 15 cities covered in the report, Moncton joins Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo and Abbotsford-Mission as the fastest growing economies this year.
- St. John's, Newfoundland, is expected to post the weakest growth rate at 0.5 per cent.
- The weaker Canadian dollar and a solid U.S. economy are expected to foster a gradual recovery in many cities' manufacturing sectors this year.
Moncton's real GDP is forecast to rise by a 10-year high of 3 per cent this year, thanks to healthy gains in manufacturing and the broader services sector. In particular, the local transportation and warehousing sector, whose outlook is closely tied to that of manufacturing's, is expected to expand at a vigorous clip. The solid economy will translate into decent job and income gains, which should encourage consumers to continue spending.
A recovery in manufacturing and in resources and utilities sectors will help the economy of Saint John expand by 2.3 per cent this year. Both sectors will benefit from a weaker Canadian dollar and stronger housing demand south of the border, the latter of which will help drive growth in the region's forestry industry. Meanwhile, the construction industry is expected to receive a boost from rising non-residential investment, including upgrades to the Irving pulp and paper mill.
St. John's economy will struggle under the weight of lower oil prices and falling offshore oil production in Newfoundland and Labrador as existing fields mature. Still, things will be better than last year when total output fell by 2.3 per cent. This year, the St. John's economy is forecast to grow by 0.5 per cent, as solid gains in manufacturing, in wholesale and retail trade, and in finance and real estate are offset by declines in resources and utilities and in construction.
The Conference Board of Canada will present the economic outlook for 22 Canadian cites at a live webinar titled, Medium and Small Cities Economic Outlook 2015: Mid-Sized and Top-Notch, on July 30, 2015 at 02:00 PM EDT.
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