QUEBEC CITY — There is little question of the economic importance of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region. If it were a country, the region would rank as the world’s third-largest economy, and according to a new BMO Economics report, more growth is on the horizon.
“The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region… is a vital driver of North American economic output, employment and trade, accounting for nearly a third of combined Canadian and U.S. output, jobs and exports,” said Doug Porter, Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group.
“The region’s expansion is expected to accelerate in 2015. Manufacturing and exports in Ontario and Quebec will get a boost from a weaker currency and firm U.S. demand; meanwhile U.S. states in the region will see an ongoing housing recovery offset somewhat by the strong U.S. dollar,” he added.
Porter also noted the importance of the region to the Quebec economy.
“Quebec’s trade ties to the Great Lakes states are significant, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of provincial exports and 6 per cent of total imports,” he said. “On the export side, shipments to the Great Lakes states outnumber all non-U.S. countries by a wide margin. This reflects output across a wide range of industries, with aluminum and copper, paper, machinery & equipment, fuel and aerospace accounting for the bulk of activity.”
Overall, Porter remarked that sturdy growth is expected for the region in 2015.
“The U.S. economy is expected to continue its expansion in the year ahead, growing at a 2.2 per cent clip in 2015 – down slightly from a 2.4 per cent pace last year. While Canada is expected to lag with 1.5 per cent growth, that largely reflects the impact of lower oil prices in oil-producing provinces,” he said.
“In fact, Canada’s regional growth landscape looks to see a dramatic shake-up, with Ontario and Quebec poised to benefit from the combination of a weaker Canadian dollar and firm U.S. demand. Against that backdrop, the outlook for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region remains positive,” Porter added.