MRO Magazine

Western cities near the top of metropolitan economic growth in 2004

Ottawa, ON -- Five western Canadian cities will post economic growth greater than three% in 2004, ranking them amon...


Industry

October 13, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — Five western Canadian cities will post economic growth greater than three% in 2004, ranking them among the top seven cities covered in the Autumn 2004 edition of the Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook.

"The economies of western Canadian cities have many things going for them," said Mario Lefebvre, director, Metropolitan Outlook Service. "Calgary and Edmonton continue to benefit from strong energy sector investment. After two years of negative growth, Regina’s economy is rebounding nicely, allowing job creation to resume. Winnipeg’s manufacturing sector is enjoying the U.S. economic recovery. Victoria has finally seen the end of the British Columbia government’s public sector restructuring."

Regina’s services sector is expected to rebound thanks to stronger activity in industries such as transportation and communication, and wholesale and retail trade. About 2,700 jobs will be created in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and real GDP growth is anticipated to come in at 4.6% in 2004, second only to Toronto in the Autumn 2004 outlook.

Edmonton will continue to act as the manufacturing hub for Alberta’s oil and gas sector. This bodes well for both manufacturing output and non-residential construction over the forecast horizon. Real GDP is expected to rise by 4.4% in 2004.

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Strong energy prices are lifting drilling activity in the province of Alberta. This is good news for Calgary’s services sector, which is tied to the oil and gas industry. Moreover, continued robust population and employment growth in the city are providing support to consumer spending. All in all, Calgary’s economy is expected to grow by 4.2% this year. Growth is forecast to average 3.8% annually from 2005 to 2008, second only to Toronto over this time period.

Winnipeg’s population has been growing more rapidly of late, and, in 2004, is expected to exceed 700,000 for the first time ever. This bodes well for the CMA’s domestic demand. Moreover, non-residential construction is growing vigorously. Overall, real GDP growth is forecast to reach 3.5% this year, allowing employment to rise by 2.2%.

Victoria is set to post a gain in real GDP of 3.3% in 2004, following average increases of below one% per year from 2001 to 2003. Stronger tourism activity this year is supporting the services sector, which represents 85% of the city’s economy. The rebound will lift growth in personal income and, in turn, consumer spending.

Preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games has already started, providing a boost to Vancouver’s non-residential construction sector. Moreover, several non-Olympic construction projects, along with another outstanding year of housing starts, will allow real GDP growth in the city to come in at 2.7% this year. This forecast follows a 4.4% gain in 2003. The medium term economic outlook is also relatively healthy, thanks to strong population growth and intensifying efforts around the Olympics.