Halifax should be one of the fastest growing metropolitan economies this year, expanding by 3.1 per cent, and another 2.8 per cent next year, the Conference Board of Canada predicts.
“For the first time since 2009, Halifax will have one of the fastest growing metropolitan economies among the 13 cities covered in this (Metropolitan Outlook) report,” Alan Arcand, associate director of the board’s centre for municipal studies stated in a news release.
“Halifax is seeing growth in a variety of sectors, but activity in manufacturing is expected to be particularly strong as production begins at the Halifax Shipyard on the first set of new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy.”
The economic think-tank expects Halifax’s manufacturing sector to increase output by “a vigorous” 8.6 per cent this year. Through 2013-14, manufacturing output declined by more than 12 per cent.
The board isn’t so optimistic about the performance of the resources, agriculture and utilities sectors, as natural declines at the Deep Panuke and Sable offshore wells will lead to slight drops in output over the next two years.
There is upside potential for future developments, however, according to the news release, due to $2 billion in spending on offshore exploration by Shell and BP and their partners over the next few years.
Residential construction in the Halifax area is expected to pick up in 2015 by two per cent. In each of the last three years, housing starts fell.
Halifax’s non-residential construction has benefited from several major projects, which should result in construction output increasing by 9.8 per cent in 2015.
The think-tank also figures Toronto and Vancouver will be growing fast this year.
The economies of Calgary and Edmonton are expected to shrink by 1.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively, while economic growth “will cool considerably” in Regina and Saskatoon.
The board expects most of the other 13 metropolitan areas covered in its report will have improved economic fortunes, boosted by lower prices for oil, a weaker Canadian dollar and improvement in the U.S. economy.
Source: The Chronicle Herald