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Province incurs close to $1B deficit: report

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Finance Minister Stan Struthers released his final report on the province’s books for the 2011-2012 fiscal year today, and the results, while grim, are better than earlier projected.

The government incurred a deficit of $999 million for the year ending March 31, 2012 – an improvement of $121 million over its last forecast in spring.

"Last year was unlike any other in Manitoba's history," Struthers said in a release. "We faced a flood of unprecedented scale, saw growing pressures in the frontlines of child welfare and corrections, all in the midst of a sluggish global economic recovery, and we came through it a little better than expected. These challenges are still with us, but this is a modest improvement."

The $999 million summary deficit, which includes the performance of Crown corporations, is an all-time record for the province.

Struthers will release the first quarterly financial report for the current fiscal year on Monday.

The province also announced today that the legislature will resume sitting on Nov. 19. The session will begin with the reading of the speech from the throne.

Volume 1 of the province’s financial report released today can be found here.

In his year-end economic report, Struthers said strong population growth and stronger consumer spending, including activity related to the return of the Winnipeg Jets, boosted spending in Manitoba’s service sector in 2011.

Industrial output in the service-producing sector expanded by three per cent with commercial services increasing by 3.3 per cent and non-commercial service increasing by 2.4 per cent, he said.

The Manitoba Bureau of Statistics estimates that Manitoba’s economy grew 2.2 per cent in 2011 following 2.3 per cent growth in 2010. Gross Domestic Product

(GDP) increased 2.2 per cent with nominal GDP reaching $56.9 billion.

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