Saskatoon, Regina expected to lead growth, Conference Board report says

The Canadian Press and The StarPhoenix September 27, 2013 - OTTAWA - With Saskatoon and Regina on top, cities in Western Canada are expected to lead the country's metropolitan areas in economic growth this year, a report by the Conference Board of Canada says.

Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver make up the top five in the board's latest outlook for 13 Canadian metropolitan areas while Ottawa-Gatineau and Victoria are at the bottom of the list.

Growth in Saskatoon is forecast to reach 5.2 per cent this year, up from 4.1 per cent in 2012, while Regina is expected to growth by five per cent, repeating its performance last year.

"Despite some setbacks, Saskatchewan's economy is expected to perform well in the near term, with real GDP forecast to expand 3.5 per cent this year — more than twice the national average," the report said.

“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, Centre for Municipal Studies, in a news release.

“Vibrant job markets in Saskatoon and Regina are attracting newcomers from all over Canada and abroad, boosting population growth and spurring demand for housing.”

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 a robust 4.7 per cent in 2012, is expected to grow by an even stronger 6.1 per cent this year.

Following real gross domestic product (GDP) growth above five per cent in two of the last three years, Regina’s economy will also continue to expand at a brisk pace. Regina’s economy will grow by five per cent this year and 3.9 per cent in 2014.

Calgary is expected to grow by 3.3 per cent, Edmonton by 4.2 per cent and Vancouver by 2.2 per cent.

The five Western Canadian cities stand in contrast with the other eight areas studied, which are expected to growth by less than two per cent this year.

In Toronto, which is expected to be hampered by weaker manufacturing and services sectors, growth will be limited to 1.6 per cent in 2013.

Halifax is forecast to post growth of 1.7 per cent, while Winnipeg is expected to grow by 1.4 per cent.

Montreal, Quebec City and Hamilton are each expected to grow about 1.3 per cent this year.

Ottawa-Gatineau is expected to expand by 0.8 per cent in 2013 due to spending cuts by the federal government.

Victoria is expected to grow by 0.1 per cent.

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