Stagnant GDP expected
Manitoba's economy is expected to remain flat in 2014 compared with 2013, with GDP growth at 2.2 per cent, the latest edition of the BMO Blue Book states.
The bank's economists believe the slumping loonie and a pickup in the U.S. economy will be a plus for the province's manufacturing sector in 2014 after experiencing a 0.4 per cent decline in sales last year.
Falling agricultural commodity prices and a transportation backlog might make it hard for agricultural receipts to match 2013, when there was a record harvest, but bank officials expect the sector to continue to perform well with lots of expansion, land acquisitions and rising land prices.
Building permits on rise
Construction activity in the province should pick up a little over the next few months, building-permit data released Wednesday indicates.
Statistics Canada said local contractors took out $143.3 million worth of permits in March, a 1.7 per cent increase from February's total of $141 million.
Because contractors usually must obtain a building permit before construction work can begin, an increase in permit numbers usually means a pending increase in construction activity.
March's increase was concentrated on the residential side of the construction industry, where permit values rose by three per cent to $101.6 million from $98.6 million in February.
The value of non-residential permits declined by 1.5 per cent to $41.8 million from $42.4 million.