THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), have released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report, a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The report includes new economic analyses that illustrate the difficult economic environment facing Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains economic information pertaining exclusively to Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.
The Ontario Economic Report suggests that employment growth in Thunder Bay will continue to be modest through 2018 led by forestry, mining, construction and service industries. Economic outlook data reveals that the unemployment rate in the Thunder Bay census metropolitan area (CMA) is expected to drop to 6.5 percent (down from 6.8 percent in 2016) and the median residential housing price is projected to be $210,000, reflecting a small increase over last year. Population is expected to continue on a downward trend.
“Businesses in Thunder Bay are projecting limited growth due to concerns about high input costs and global market fluctuations,” says Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. “Public sector investments in health care, education and infrastructure along with continued strong shipping activity in the Port of Thunder Bay will help to offset areas with minimal growth projections.”
“Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.”
Additional key findings in the report are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past. This challenge is a result of the current economic environment, in which increased costs associated with production, regulation and housing have resulted in weak market and labour force activity.
“For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the report reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.”
The results of the report highlight the key policy issues that the OCC and Thunder Bay Chamber intend to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, and energy.
Read the full report at: www.occ.ca/oer/