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TD Bank sees Alberta leading provincial economies while Ontario lags
Friday, September 28, 2001
TORONTO (CP) - Alberta will have the most economic growth among the provinces this year while Ontario - the most populous - falls to last place, says a report by TD Bank economists released Friday.
The overall outlook is dim for the rest of this year and only marginally better next year, but will pick up notably in 2003, the report said. "2001 is shaping up to be the poorest year for provincial economies since the end of the last recession in 1992."
As a result, job markets are in for "rough sailing" for the rest of the year and through the first half of 2002.
"What began as a manufacturing-led slowdown in growth and job creation in Central Canada is likely to become increasingly widespread across the country in the months down the road," said Derek Burleton, senior economist at TD Bank Financial Group.
"By mid-2002, jobless rates in most provinces will hover 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points above their levels of late 2000, with notable increases forecast for Ontario and Quebec."
The report said unemployment rates will peak across the country in mid-2002 and then decline as job creation begins to respond to a pickup in U.S. growth and this year's steep interest rate cuts in Canada.
Alberta's economy, as measured by real gross domestic product growth - which is the output of an economy with inflation factored in - is expected to grow at a rate of four per cent for 2001 while Ontario grows 0.8 per cent.
Both Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island's forecast growth rates are at 1.9 per cent for the year, 1.7 per cent for British Columbia and Manitoba, 1.5 per cent for Nova Scotia, 1.2 per cent for Quebec, 1.1 per cent for New Brunswick and one per cent for Saskatchewan.
For the country, TD forecasts Canada's real GDP growth at 1.4 per cent in 2001, 1.7 per cent in 2002 and 3.4 per cent in 2003.
"Over the next several months, all of the regional economies will be hard-pressed to record any growth at all," Burleton said.
The U.S. near-term economic outlook has worsened, which affects all provincial manufacturing sectors, and the resource sector has been hurt by lower commodity prices.
Meanwhile, consumer and business confidence will deflate due to "falling corporate profits, rising unemployment rates, tumbling equity prices and most recently, the uncertainty resulting from the terrorist attacks south of the border," the report said.
By early 2002, the outlook should brighten as the U.S. economy responds to interest rate and personal tax relief put in place earlier this year.
"Although economic growth should pick up across the provinces in the first quarter of 2002, improvements in rates of provincial job creation are likely to lag behind until mid-year," Burleton said.
"Happily, 2003 should mark a return to an environment of rapid job gains and low unemployment similar to that enjoyed at the end of the 1990s and in 2000."
© Copyright 2001 The Canadian Press
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