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Western Canada continues economic growth, Alberta continues to recover

JOC News Service
Western Canada continues economic growth, Alberta continues to recover

VICTORIA — British Columbia and Alberta’s economies will continue to perform well throughout the year and will be joined by Atlantic provinces in posting strong growth, according to a recently released report.

The Conference Board of Canada stated in its Provincial Outlook: Winter 2018 report that Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador will join the two western provinces in showing the strongest economic growth this year.

“British Columbia’s economy still has a lot of momentum and will be the only province to see economic growth above three per cent this year. Most provinces will perform well, though some will see their economic growth moderate this year,” said Conference Board of Canada provincial forecasting director Marie-Christine Bernard in a statement.  

The report said B.C.’s economy will grow by 3.1 per cent in the coming year, making it the provincial leader, with Alberta and P.E.I. growing by 2.8 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador at 2.6 per cent thanks to oil production.

British Columbia’s growth, the report said, is due to large energy initiatives that are either under construction or due to start building soon.

However, the rapid growth will not continue at the same rate, with tighter housing demand, an erosion of housing affordability and tighter mortgage regulations leading to less housing starts in 2019.

Alberta will continue to recover, the report said, with oil drilling expected to maintain at current levels or improve, and employment growing at 1.7 per cent. Investment will be modest as major oilsands projects complete construction.

Saskatchewan’s resource sector will benefit from more favourable global demand for potash and oil, but the real GDP is forecast to rise only by 1.3 per cent this year.

Ontario and Quebec showed moderate growth, declining from close to or above three per cent growth last year to two per cent in 2018.

Job increases will be low in Ontario because of a sharp rise in the minimum wage, and in Quebec the labour markets are close to full employment, precluding a hiring spree in the province as seen last year.

Though the Atlantic provinces are experiencing a rapidly aging population, they are also welcoming a record number of immigrants. Nova Scotia is expected to grow by 1.5 per cent in 2018 as major projects such as the Maritime Transmission Link and the Halifax Convention Centre wind down. New Brunswick is estimated to grow by 1.4 per cent this year and Prince Edward Island by 2.8 per cent.

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