Canadian Manufacturing

Most provinces to experience growth in 2014: Conference Board

Alberta will lead economic charge thanks in large part to oilsands investment, strong labour market

OTTAWA—Alberta will be home to the fastest growing provincial economy next year, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada, thanks in large part to oilsands investment and a strong labour market.

With Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador leading the economic charge in recent years, the think-tank’s Provincial Outlook: Autumn 2013 report projects a similar outcome in 2014, though most provinces are expected to experience stronger economic growth.

“While many provinces have struggled in the past few years, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador thrived as their primary resources were in high demand and fuelled solid economic growth,” the Conference Board’s associate director of provincial forecast Marie-Christine Bernard said in a statement.

“However, the prospect of a stronger U.S. economy will now help boost exports and improve the outlook for other provinces over the next two years.”

Despite damage caused by the severe flooding in Alberta in the summer, the Wild Rose province’s economy grew at a fast pace in 2013, and economic conditions are extremely favourable heading into 2014.

Buoyed by investment in the oilsands and a very strong labour market, Alberta’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand by 3.4 per cent in 2014.

Strong gains in the primary sector, a rebound in construction and improved job creation will help lift British Columbia’s real GDP by 2.7 per cent in 2014.

Following an estimated four per cent gain in 2013, Saskatchewan’s economy can expect to cool next year, according to the Conference Board, as weaker prices will hold back potash production increases and lower the province’s economic growth to 2.3 per cent in 2014, in line with Canada’s growth.

Manitoba’s economy will expand by two per cent in 2014, fuelled by better performances in the province’s goods and services industries, along with strong job growth and gains in personal disposable income.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s real GDP growth will slow from a nation-leading six per cent in 2013 to 1.8 per cent in 2014.

A much smaller increase in oil production and the completion of construction work on Vale’s Long Harbour project will limit economic growth in the province.

The economic outlook for central Canada and some of the Atlantic provinces is set to improve in 2014.

Stronger growth south of the border will help improve export volumes and the manufacturing sectors in many regions.

A partial recovery in exports and strong growth in the commercial and financial services will help boost Ontario’s economy, with an economic performance expected to be more in line with the national average in 2014, with real GDP forecast to grow by 2.2 per cent.

Quebec’s economy will grow by 2.1 per cent in 2014—more than double this year’s pace—due mainly to an increased willingness by consumers and businesses to spend.

Mining activity in New Brunswick is expected to pick up as new metal mines come into production in 2014-15, providing a boost to the province’s economy.

Overall, real GDP growth there is expected to be 1.6 per cent in 2014.

With the new Deep Panuke offshore natural gas field set to begin production and better growth prospects in the forestry and manufacturing sectors, Nova Scotia’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2014.

Prince Edward Island had some of the strongest economic growth among all the provinces in 2013.

However, a decline in private investment and ongoing fiscal restraint by the provincial government, will limit growth to just 1.3 per cent in 2014.

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