TORONTO‑Canada’s 25 largest cities have regained the economic ground they lost in the recession because of a rebound in the manufacturing sector, according to CIBC World Markets.
CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal said new data on manufacturing production and shipments show that Canada is on the mend. The reported 65,000 manufacturing jobs created in December reflect that recovery is very evident.
Only Kingston and Saint John showed negative growth in economic activity in the third quarter of 2010 ‑ significantly better than 2009’s third quarter when 10 cities were in the negatives.
Montreal ranked number one, up from the tenth spot last year. Tal said the city’s activity in the manufacturing sector and recent momentum there was key to placing it atop the rankings. Toronto placed second as its economy is not as strongly linked to manufacturing but benefited from a recovering financial sector and increased activity in small and mid-size firms. Strong population growth and a strong labour market kept Vancouver near the top of the rankings despite the shrinking economic benefits of last year’s Olympic Winter Games.
Some of Canada’s smaller cities – Windsor, St Catharines and Saguenay, Que. – had the most significant impact on the manufacturing sector. Tal said that economic momentum in those cities has been awakened by a strong manufacturing industry.
“The city of Windsor is a prime example of the manufacturing-led recovery,” he said. “Employment in the city has been rising for three consecutive quarters – a performance not seen since 2006. Same goes for the housing market with housing starts being in positive territory for almost a year.”
Adding that manufacturing activity has been on the decline nationally, Tal said the recent improvements highlight the importance of the sector to the Canadian economy and developing economies in major urban centres.