Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Economic growth predicted for Winnipeg in 2014

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Though it continues to trail its Prairie siblings in terms of growth, Winnipeg will still see an increase in economic performance from last year.

That's according to the Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2014 report that was released Wednesday. The annual analysis of 28 Canadian cities suggests the major Prairie hubs -- Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg -- are all doing well, with the Alberta and Saskatchewan markets seeing their gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast at 3.2 per cent and higher.

Winnipeg's GDP growth for 2014 is forecast at two per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in the 2013 report. According to the conference board, this ranks Winnipeg 15th out of 28 Canadian cities and major urban markets.

GDP is a measure of the overall economic activity (value of goods and services produced) within a specific economy.

Reasons for the slight uptick in Winnipeg's performance include growth in the manufacturing sector, wholesale and retail trade and in public administration. Stronger-than-expected growth in the U.S. economy could lead to an increased demand in transportation services and production based in the Manitoba capital as well.

These expected increases in manufacturing and employment will be offset by a slowdown in the construction sector, specifically housing starts. After a rapid rise in new homes between 2010-13 (a 24.5 per cent annual average rate increase resulting in 4,600 new homes last year alone), construction is expected to drop by 11.4 per cent for this year (down to 4,100 new homes).

Overall, Winnipeg's total construction output is forecast to reach two per cent in 2014, down from the 5.3 per cent average annual increase recorded in 2012-13.

Manitoba's GDP is expected to follow suit, with a slight 0.3 per cent increase from the 1.7 per cent mark it hit in 2013. The Conference Board of Canada projects Manitoba's goods and services industries (plus the added employment opportunities) to perform well over the next two years, with a GDP of two per cent in 2014 and 2.9 per cent in 2015.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2014 A16

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