May 29, 2015 by STAFF REPORT
Manitoba’s economic performance will be one of the strongest among the provinces in 2015 and 2016, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook Spring 2015.
Manitoba is expected to post real GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in 2015 and again in 2016, when it will lead all provinces.
“As a wind of change blows through the country thanks to the slide in oil prices, Manitoba will be one of the country’s strongest economic performers until at least 2016,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast. “Strong growth in construction, a rebound in agriculture, and stable domestic demand are expected to lift labour markets and increase disposable household income for Manitobans.”
Construction projects are propelling growth in the province, with the sector’s activities forecast to rise by 6.1 per cent in 2015 and another strong increase expected in 2016.
Following a difficult year, the agriculture sector is making a comeback, with anticipated growth of 5 per cent for 2015. The weaker Canadian dollar, lower oil prices, and the clearing of grain shipment backlogs will lead to strong gains in the transportation and warehousing sector. Metal mining and the manufacturing sector are also expected to remain healthy over the next two years.
Given the healthy economic outlook for the province, employment is expected to grow by an average of 1.6 per cent this year and next, with the unemployment rate falling to 5 per cent in 2016 and remaining at that level over the medium term. The improvement in the labour market and historically low interest rates will leave more disposable income in Manitobans’ pockets, helping retail sales to advance over the next two years.