MRO Magazine

Manufacturing rebound brightens outlook in Atlantic Canadian cities

Ottawa, ON -- U.S. demand for manufactured goods will be one of the main driving forces for economic growth in two...


Industry

October 12, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — U.S. demand for manufactured goods will be one of the main driving forces for economic growth in two of three Atlantic Canadian cities covered in the Autumn 2004 edition of the Metropolitan Outlook issued by the Conference Board of Canada.

"Stronger U.S. demand and a gradual weakening of the Canadian dollar should revive the manufacturing sector in both Halifax and Saint John, following sharp declines in 2003," said Mario Lefebvre, director, Metropolitan Outlook Service. "These gains are breathing some life back into the labour market in both cities, which is good news for consumer spending."

Halifax is expected to post real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.3% in 2004. In addition to a rebound in manufacturing output that will continue into 2005, non-residential construction will perform well, particularly because of the Halifax Harbour Cleanup project.

Saint John will bounce back from a decline in real GDP growth in 2003 to register an economic expansion of 2.6% this year. The manufacturing sector is benefiting from a stronger U.S. economy, which is boosting demand for Canadian products. The construction industry remains a pillar of strength due to several non-residential energy projects.

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Modest economic growth of 2.2% is expected in St. John’s this year. Offshore oil activity plateaued, limiting growth in that sector. Moreover, the month-long public sector strike last spring will hamper the outlook in the services sector. Residential construction remains a bright spot, as housing starts — after reaching a 10-year high in 2003 — are expected to exceed that total this year.

The Metropolitan Outlook is produced three times a year and provides economic insights into Census Metropolitan Areas, their related province, and Canada.