THUNDER BAY – The Conference Board of Canada says, “In the Northern Ontario CMAs, moderate growth in the mining and construction sectors will result in GDP growth of two per cent in Sudbury this year. Thunder Bay’s real GDP is forecast to increase by 1.7 per cent in 2012, the highest growth rate in the CMA over the past 12 years”. In their Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2012, the Conference Board is predicting better times for the region.
Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina will benefit from solid global demand for their local resources to post the strongest economic growth among Canadian cities in 2012. The Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2012, released today, is The Conference Board of Canada’s once-a-year simultaneous analysis of 27 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs). “In spite of global economic turmoil, high prices for agricultural products, minerals and oil are likely to continue. Canada’s prairie cities will reap the benefits of this global demand for commodities,” said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies.
“The outlook is not as promising for cities in central and eastern Canada. The uncertain global economy, a continued slow recovery in the manufacturing sector and the windup of fiscal stimulus introduced by governments in recent years will hamper overall economic growth.”
Despite the slow U.S. recovery and the strong Canadian dollar, Toronto and Oshawa’s manufacturing sectors are expected to post decent gains this year. Nevertheless, manufacturing output in both cities will remain well below peak levels. In addition, construction activity in both CMAs will be dampened by the winding down of public infrastructure spending.
Oshawa’s manufacturing sector will receive a boost from the start of production on a new General Motors model. All in all, Oshawa’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2012.
Toronto’s economy is forecast to grow by a 2.6 per cent this year, a modest improvement on 2011. As world markets recover, the Toronto economy should improve by four per cent in 2013, with growth widespread across all sectors.
Belt-tightening by the federal government will have a noticeable effect on Ottawa-Gatineau’s 2012 outlook. Public administration employment fell by two per cent in 2011, and is forecast to decline by 3.6 per cent this year—a cumulative loss of 9,000 jobs over these two years. As a result, real GDP growth is expected to come in at a modest 1.8 per cent in 2012, only a slight improvement over 2011.
Kitchener-Waterloo’s economy is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2012. Although the region’s manufacturing sector is in transition, it is expected to post another year of steady growth. The CMA will also continue to benefit from sound population growth, which will support housing demand and consumer spending.
The $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway project will lift overall economic growth in the Windsor CMA to 2.5 per cent this year. In addition to double-digit growth in construction sector output, employment is forecast to increase by an average of 2.3 per cent in 2012 and 2013.
Growth in Hamilton’s manufacturing sector will be limited by the shaky global economy. Real GDP is expected to increase by two per cent in 2012, a slight increase from 2011.
London continues to face a slow recovery from the 2008-09 recession. Real GDP is forecast to increase by 1.7 per cent in 2012 (which is in itself an improvement over 2011), but this growth is still well below London’s long-term annual average of 2.5 per cent.
Weakness in the construction sector will limit Kingston’s economic growth to 1.5 per cent in 2012, the fourth year in the past five that the CMA’s real GDP will increase by less than two per cent.
A drop in construction output will restrict economic growth in St. Catharines-Niagara to 1.4 per cent in 2012.
Resource Boom Boosts Prairie Cities: Saskatoon is forecast to lead the country in economic growth this year, but the four per cent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) forecast in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook is actually a slowdown from the estimated 4.6 per cent gain in 2011. The province’s booming primary sector is supporting gains in all industries, and employment is expected to grow by almost five per cent this year.
Continued strong growth in Alberta’s energy sector and solid domestic demand will boost Calgary’s real GDP by 3.6 per cent in 2012. In 2013, the Calgary CMA is forecast to lead all Canadian cities with growth of 4.9 per cent.
The Edmonton economy created almost 40,000 jobs last year alone – a six per cent increase – which will help to support domestic demand entering 2012. Strong energy activity will also contribute to real GDP growth of 3.4 per cent in 2012. Regina’s economy grew by more than five per cent in 2011, second only to St. John’s. Growth will ease to 2.9 per cent in 2012, which ranks Regina fourth among Canadian CMAs. Strong employment growth is drawing migrants to the city, boding well for housing demand and consumer spending.
Winnipeg is expected to rank in the top half of Canadian CMAs for economic growth in 2012. Winnipeg’s manufacturing sector is forecast to post its best performance since 2007, which will help lift overall economic growth to 2.4 per cent in 2012.