OTTAWA, May 25, 2017 /CNW/ - Economic growth in Halifax is expected to reach 1.8 per cent in 2017, similarly to last year's 2.0 per cent increase, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Spring 2017.
"Halifax's economy is seeing stable growth. Economic growth in 2017 will be fuelled by continued strength in manufacturing, particularly in the shipbuilding industry, and this will help offset a small decline in construction activity this year," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada.
- Halifax's economic growth is expected to reach 1.8 percent in 2017.
- The area's economy is on track to create an average of about 2,000 new jobs per year over this year and next.
- Toronto is expected to post the fastest-growing metropolitan economy this year with growth of 2.7 per cent.
The manufacturing sector will remain one of the region's growth drivers. Manufacturing output is forecast to rise by 4.1 per cent this year, thanks to ongoing work at the Halifax Shipyard. Work on the Arctic offshore patrol ships—part of the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar contract to build ships for the Canadian navy—will continue to accelerate this year as the first of the six planned ships are scheduled to be completed by 2018.
On the other hand, local construction activity is expected to post a small decline this year, as the industry is held back by the wrap-up or wind-down of several big non-residential construction projects in the region, including the King's Wharf project in Dartmouth, the Nova Centre, and the replacement of the suspension spans on the Macdonald Bridge. That said, several projects are scheduled for this year, including new Ikea and Cabela retail developments, a refresh of the Halifax ferry terminal, and renovations to Argyle Street, but these will not be enough to offset the end of construction on other projects. On a more positive note, residential construction is expected to strengthen, as housing starts are projected to reach a five-year high of 2,600 units this year.
Services sector output is expected to expand by a solid 2 per cent this year, up from 1.8 per cent in 2016. Solid job and income growth will boost consumer spending, which should help lift wholesale and retail trade output. Meanwhile, the finance, insurance and real estate sector is on track to post steady gains this year and next, thanks in part to the region's healthy housing market.
The area's economy is on track to create an average of about 2,000 new jobs per year over this year and next, an improvement over the 1,400 average annual jobs created in the previous five years. The stronger job market should help lower the unemployment rate from 6.2 per cent in 2016 to 5.9 per cent next year.
Of note, Toronto is expected to boast the fastest-growing metropolitan economy this year among the 13 census metropolitan areas covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook.
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