OTTAWA, Aug. 22, 2018 /CNW/ - Sherbrooke is forecast to post the fastest economic growth among Quebec's medium-sized metropolitan areas this year at 2.1 per cent. Trois-Rivières will be close behind with a 1.8 per cent gain. Meanwhile, Saguenay's economy is expected to maintain the 1.3 per cent growth it saw last year, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Summer 2018.
"While Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke will see economic growth moderate this year, both cities will continue to benefit from ongoing strength in manufacturing," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada. "In Saguenay, a decent outlook for the construction and services-producing industries will keep economic growth on a modest, but steady path."
- Sherbrooke's economy is expected to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2018.
- Real GDP in Trois-Rivières is forecast to expand 1.8 per cent this year, down sharply from a 3.5 per cent gain in 2017.
- Saguenay's real GDP growth is expected to hold steady at 1.3 per cent.
Sherbrooke is expected to see its economic growth decelerate from the 2.6 per cent pace it achieved last year to a still solid 2.1 per cent in 2018. Healthy population growth and decent employment gains will help offset rising interest rates and an aging population. As a result, consumer spending is not expected to slow as rapidly as in other metropolitan areas in the province. This will support healthy growth in industries such as construction, wholesale and retail trade, and accommodation and food services. In all, the services-producing industries are expected to post output growth of 2.0 per cent, a pace not matched since 2010. Following a staggering 8.5 per cent advance last year, Sherbrooke's manufacturing industry output will slow to a more sustainable pace in 2018. Employment is expected to rise by 1.6 per cent in 2018 and by 0.7 per cent in 2019, an improvement over last year's flat reading.
On the heels of a 3.5 per cent output jump—the largest in almost 10 years—Trois-Rivières's economy is moderating and should see growth of 1.8 per cent in 2018. Despite the slowdown in consumer spending, the services-producing industries will still achieve a decent 1.7 per cent advance, fuelled by strength in industries such as transportation and warehousing, professional, scientific and technical services, and accommodation and food services. Output growth is expected to remain solid in the local manufacturing sector and reach 2.8 per cent this year. Meanwhile, the construction industry is facing challenges including a decline in housing starts and hurdles, delays, and cancellations of some major infrastructure projects. On the bright side, smaller non-residential projects are sprouting up and this year's construction output growth will mirror the gains in 2017. Trois-Rivières's job market is on pace to take a breather with a contraction of 1.3 per cent, but a quick turnaround is forecast in 2019.
Saguenay's real GDP growth is expected to hold steady at 1.3 per cent this year, but more tepid average annual growth of 1.1 per cent is forecast through to 2022. The goods-producing sector is expected to pick up steam and is on track to expand for the first time since 2012 this year. A small uptick in manufacturing and construction output is behind this advance. On the services side of the economy, things are expected to cool down as the population continues to age out of the labour force and consumers and businesses alike begin to feel the pinch of rising interest rates and U.S. tariffs on Canadian exports. Despite this, a modest 1.5 per cent advance is expected in the aggregate services industries this year, with growth being driven by health care and social assistance services as well as finance, insurance and real estate. On the employment front, while 2,300 jobs were added to the local economy last year, no more than 500 net new jobs are expected to be created annually over the next four years. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate will remain stable at 5.8 per cent.
The Metropolitan Outlook: Summer 2018 is The Conference Board of Canada's analysis of 16 medium-sized Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs).
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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada
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