The Manitoba economy caught some wind in its sails in 2012, cruising to the second-best provincial economic performance in the country, according to preliminary estimates released Friday by Statistics Canada.
The agency said preliminary gross-domestic-product-by-industry data indicate the Manitoba economy grew by a healthy 2.7 per cent in 2012. That's almost a full percentage point better than 2011's real GDP growth rate of 1.8 per cent.
It said Alberta was the only province with a stronger finish in 2012, with 3.9 per cent growth. Saskatchewan rounded out Top 3, with growth of 2.2 per cent, while the Canadian economy expanded by an estimated 1.8 per cent after growing by 2.6 per cent in 2011.
This year's preliminary estimate for Manitoba is higher than provincial government officials expected, which is a change from the previous two years when Statistics Canada underestimated Manitoba's economic output.
Its preliminary estimate for 2010 was 1.4 per cent growth for Manitoba, and that was later revised to 2.6 per cent. And its preliminary estimate for 2011 was 1.1 per cent growth, which was later bumped up to 1.8 per cent.
Wilf Falk, the province's chief statistician, said he suspects this year's preliminary estimate may be off the mark again, but this time in the other direction.
Falk thinks the latest revised number for 2011 is still too low. The province pegged growth at closer to two per cent.
"So that (a lower number for 2011) makes the 2012 number look a little higher," he added.
Also, the average forecast from the 10 economic forecasters the province tracks was for 2.2 per cent growth for 2012, he said.
Regardless of where the final number comes in, "overall, it's showing 2012 was a pretty good year, all things being equal, for Manitoba," Falk said.
And if you look at the last two years together, it shows combined growth of about 4.5 per cent, he said.
"That's 2.2 or 2.3 per cent a year, and that's not bad."
The Statistics Canada data show the best-performing industries for Manitoba last year were agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, with output growth of 14.8 per cent; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (up 12.2 per cent); and construction (up 6.6 per cent).
Falk said 2012 was a big rebound year for the agriculture industry, which saw its output tumble by 13.3 per cent in 2011 because of bad weather.
Statistics Canada said a significant increase in oil and gas extraction more than offset a decline in metal ore mining. And the construction industry thrived because of a high level of activity on both the residential and non-residential sides of the market.
Elsewhere in Canada, the preliminary data show five other provinces -- Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia -- finished with growth of less than two per cent. And Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick saw their GDP decline by 4.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.
Among the territories, Nunavut led the way with GDP growth of 4.3 per cent. Yukon was next, at 3.4 per cent, with the Northwest Territories bringing up the rear with 1.9 per cent.
Statistics Canada said the revised 2012 GDP-by-industry numbers for the provinces and territories will be released in November.
GDP BY PROVINCE
HERE are the latest gross domestic product growth numbers (%) for each of the last three years:
Nfld. and Labrador6.42.8-4.8
Prince Edward Island126.96.36.199
-- source: Statistics Canada