Quebec City an economic growth leader in Eastern Canada and in Quebec

    OTTAWA, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Quebec City's economy will be among the
fastest growing census metropolitan areas outside western Canada in 2008, and
Montréal's economy is also forecast to show improvement, according to the
Conference Board's Metropolitan Outlook of 27 Canadian census metropolitan
areas (CMAs). This is the first time that 27 CMAs are being ranked
simultaneously in the Metropolitan Outlook.
    Quebec's City's economy is benefiting from recently-announced
construction projects- the Rabaska liquefied natural gas project, Quebec's new
infrastructure upgrading program and new contracts at the Davie shipyard.
Growth is forecast to reach 2.8 per cent in 2008.
    "The Rabaska project is timely for both the construction and
manufacturing sectors in Quebec City, and it is adding new momentum to the
economy," said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies.
    Montreal's real gross domestic product (GDP) growth will improve from
2.1 per cent in 2007 to 2.6 per cent in 2008, thanks to major construction
projects, as well as stronger growth in the commercial services sector.
Although the manufacturing sector will continue to be held back by the high
Canadian dollar, the sector is expected to post positive output growth for the
first time since 2000, thanks to stronger activity in the aerospace sector.
    With 2008 growth forecast to come in at 2.6 per cent, Trois-Rivières will
continue to post steady gains, thanks to infrastructure upgrades and moderate
services sector activity. However, the outlook for the CMA's manufacturing
sector remains a concern.
    Both Saguenay and Sherbrooke are forecast to grow by two per cent in
2008. A large investment by new Alcan owner Rio Tinto Group, along with some
public sector projects, will allow Saguenay to post its fastest rate of real
GDP growth in eight years. Economic activity in Sherbrooke will remain modest
in 2008, held back by a manufacturing sector that continues to shed jobs and
cut production.
    Nationally, the east-west economic disparity will narrow somewhat in
2008, but the five fastest-growing cities in Canada will still be west of
Ontario, led by Calgary with real GDP growth of 4.2 per cent.

    The Metropolitan Outlook, published quarterly, provides economic
forecasts for 27 Canadian CMAs, their province, and Canada. Once a year, the
Conference Board's new Centre for Municipal Studies will publish forecasts for
all 27 CMAs simultaneously.

For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext.  448,

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