A new study predicts economic growth in Hamilton will increase slightly over the next five years but the city’s ranking as a growth centre will fall.
The latest edition of the Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook report says Hamilton was among the top 10 areas for economic growth in 2012 but it will slip to 12th place this year through to 2017.
The economic think tank said the economy of the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area grew 2.1 per cent in 2012 and average growth over the next five years is expected to hit 2.3 per cent. The Hamilton CMA includes Grimsby and Burlington.
The area’s ranking among Canada’s 28 largest CMAs slips out of the top 10, however, because growth will be so much stronger in other areas.
In a news release Thursday morning, the Conference Board said Toronto is expected to have the fastest-growing economy outside of western Canada. Ottawa, however, will have the slowest rate as federal spending restraint saps the public service, that area’s largest employer.
Nationally, Saskatoon and Regina will generate the strongest growth among the 28 CMAs covered in the outlook, followed by Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Manufacturing focused cities, like Hamilton, will benefit from the still-sputtering recovery in the United States.
“The economic recovery in the United States, although slow, will help boost exports coming from Ontario’s cities this year. U.S. demand for motor vehicles is especially strong, which will lead to production increases at automobile and parts factories across the province,” said Mario Lefebvre, director of the Centre for Municipal Studies.
Hamilton will be especially aided by continued diversification of its manufacturing base, especially in the food-processing sector.
“The manufacturing sector has diversified of late. For example, Maple Leaf is building a new food processing plant, which will increase the importance of food manufacturing in Hamilton’s economy,” the board said.
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