Growth prospects for mid-sized cities look strong

Some of Canada’s smaller cities are set for strong economic growth according to data from the Conference Board of Canada.

Medicine Hat is expected to grow GDP by 2.7% in 2017 and 2% in 2018, the strongest of 8 mid-sized cities studied. The city was heavily impacted by the downturn in the oil and gas sectors in Alberta.

Red Deer was also impacted by the energy sector slump and by falling cattle prices but is expected to see a rebound of 2% in 2017 and 2.2% in 2018. Construction, which fell heavily in 2015 and 2016 is forecast to see a return of investment as confidence grows.

Lethbridge, also reliant on cattle production, is expected to see a strong return this year with 2.4% GDP growth despite contraction in employment.

"This year, these three Alberta mid-sized cities will see many of their key industries benefit from recovering oil prices, the low Canadian dollar, and a healthy U.S. economy," said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada.

Brandon’s manufacturing industry is expected to bounce back this year to push GDP growth to 1.9% for 2017 compared to 1.5% in 2016 while growth in Prince George will moderate to 1.5% from 2.2% in 2016 due to issues for the lumber industry.

Timmins will benefit from a stronger mining sector and will grow 1.3% for 2017. Sault Ste. Marie and Miramichi will see a modest 0.6% growth having struggled in recent years.

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