Olympic glow continues to shine on Vancouver's economy through 2010

OTTAWA, April 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Thanks in part to the boost provided by the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver's economy is expected to lead Canadian cities with growth of 4 per cent this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook - Spring 2010.

"The Olympics Games provided a big, even if temporary, boost to retail trade, arts, entertainment and recreation, accommodation, and food services in Vancouver. All in all, the Olympics injected about $600 million into the Vancouver economy, lifting growth by about 0.8 percentage points," said Mario Lefebvre, Director of the Conference Board's Centre for Municipal Studies. "On top of that, demand for new homes in Vancouver began to recover at the end of last year and that momentum has carried over into the first couple months of 2010."

The economies in Toronto and Hamilton have already begun to rebound from the recession, and will post the second and third fastest growth rates, respectively, among the 13 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook.

Toronto's economy is forecast to expand by 3.7 per cent in 2010. Manufacturing is poised to record its first annual increase since 2005, and the construction sector will benefit from a rebound in housing starts, particularly single-family units.

Hamilton's economy, which declined by 4.5 per cent last year, is expected to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2010. Most sectors of the economy are poised to post growth, with the manufacturing sector expected to expand for the first time since 2002.

Victoria's economy will grow by a solid 3.2 per cent in 2010, as renewed domestic demand lifts the services sector. Construction activity is on the mend, manufacturing output is improving, and retail spending is accelerating.

Ottawa-Gatineau will post real GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in 2010. However, dark clouds loom on the horizon, as a federal government departmental spending freeze will constrain growth in the area's most important sector-public administration. Accordingly, real GDP growth is forecast to slow to 2.1 per cent in 2011.

On the Prairies, Calgary and Edmonton suffered significant declines in 2009, but both will rebound in 2010. Renewed growth in construction will help real GDP in Edmonton expand by 2.9 per cent this year. Meanwhile, stronger construction and services activity will help Calgary's economy rebound by 2.8 per cent in 2010.

Saskatoon's economy, which fell by two per cent in 2009, is forecast to expand by 2.8 per cent in 2010 as manufacturing and services output strengthen.

Winnipeg weathered the downturn relatively well in 2009, and stronger activity in the services sector will drive economic growth to 2.2 per cent this year.

Stronger manufacturing and services output growth will help lift Regina's GDP by 2 per cent this year.

Halifax, the only CMA among these 13 to post growth in real GDP last year, will post a further gain of 2.5 per cent in 2010, thanks to stronger manufacturing output and broad-based growth in the services sector.

After contracting slightly and by significantly less than the national economy last year, Québec City will post growth of 2.5 per cent in 2010, as the manufacturing and the wholesale and retail trade sectors recover.

Montréal's economy is expected to post growth of 2.3 per cent this year. Manufacturing is poised to grow again, after declining for eight of the past nine years. Construction output is forecast to improve and the services sector will receive a boost from the return of the Canadian Grand Prix race.

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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