Western cities lead economic growth again in 2013

'Vibrant' job markets attracting newcomers: Report
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/27/2013

Saskatoon and Regina are forecast to be the fastest growing census metropolitan area economies in Canada this year, according to the Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook - Autumn 2013.

"Saskatoon and Regina continue to sizzle. In 2013, both economies are expected to grow about three times as fast as the overall Canadian economy," said Mario Lefebvre, director of the Centre for Municipal Studies. "Vibrant job markets in Saskatoon and Regina are attracting newcomers from all over Canada and abroad, boosting population growth and spurring demand for housing."

Thanks to strength in the goods-producing sector, Saskatoon's economy will expand by 5.2 per cent in 2013, before easing to 3.5 per cent in 2014. The city's employment, which rose 4.7 per cent in 2012, is expected to grow by 6.1 per cent this year, said the Conference Board.

Following real gross domestic product (GDP) growth above five per cent in two of the last three years, Regina's economy will grow by five per cent this year and 3.9 per cent in 2014.

Energy-related investment in Alberta continues to drive gains in Edmonton's construction, primary and manufacturing sectors, said the outlook. Edmonton's economic growth is expected to come in at a solid 4.2 per cent in 2013.

Calgary's economy will moderate considerably in 2013, mostly as a result of the floods that hit the region this past summer. Even so, healthy gains in the goods sector will make up for an anticipated slowdown in the services sector, said the Conference Board. After growing by 4.3 per cent in 2012, real GDP in Calgary will increase by 3.3 per cent this year and 3.4 per cent next year.

Real GDP in Vancouver is expected to increase by only 2.2 per cent this year, due to slowdowns in both the manufacturing and construction sectors.

A rebound in primary and utilities output will help Halifax's economy grow by 1.7 per cent in 2013, an improvement over the one per cent gain recorded in 2012.

A decline in manufacturing and a weak services sector will limit Toronto's real GDP growth to 1.6 per cent in 2013. In 2014, improved global economic conditions will drive demand for manufactured goods, boosting the economy by 2.7 per cent, said the outlook.

Winnipeg's economy is expected to expand by 1.4 per cent in 2013, hampered by weak growth in manufacturing and slow employment gains.

Montreal, Quebec City and Hamilton can all expect growth of 1.3 per cent in 2013. Montreal and Hamilton are both facing drops in manufacturing output and slow growth in the services sector, while weakness in the public sector is hampering Quebec City's economy.

Government austerity will also hold back growth in Ottawa-Gatineau and Victoria. Ottawa-Gatineau's economy is on track to expand by only 0.8 per cent in 2013, as it continues to feel the pinch of federal government belt-tightening, said the Conference Board.

Public administration employment is headed for its biggest decline on record, down by 7.5 per cent this year. The Ottawa’s outlook is expected to improve next year — both real GDP and job growth are forecast to reach 1.6 per cent.

The public sector's outlook is also the main story in Victoria, said the report. Overall real GDP growth is expected to be flat in 2013, coming in at just 0.1 per cent.

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