The Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce and the Credit Unions of Ontario release 2015 economic outlook for Kingston-Pembroke Economic Region
Bay of Quinte, ON, Jan 29, 2015: According to a new economic outlook from the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce and the Credit Unions of Ontario, overall growth in the Quinte Region will remain low through 2016. However, the region’s manufacturing sector could be poised for a comeback.
Economic conditions in the Kingston-Pembroke economic region were weak in 2014 with low job creation and housing activity, higher unemployment, and slower population growth. However, non-residential construction was up over the past year.
The unemployment rate took a sharp jump in 2014 to a post-recession high estimated at 8.8 percent, the highest rate since 1998. According to the outlook, the worst is likely over and rates are estimated to drop significantly over the next two years to 6.5 percent in 2016, bringing it in line with the provincial average.
On the positive side, growing American demand and a lower Canadian dollar should improve the fortunes of the region’s manufacturers. Several manufacturers are already planning to expand. For example, Strathcona Solar Initiatives is creating 50 jobs in Napanee and an additional 130 jobs in the Belleville area.
Other promising developments include FedEx’s new parcel transfer centre in Belleville, which is expected to be completed in 2015 and Vision Transportation Systems will be making a significant expansion to its Belleville warehouse. In Quinte West there is the opening of the D’Orsogna Sweet Ingredients Ltd, a new Manufacturer in Quinte West and a boost to the region’s tourism sector is expected with the opening of the new $12 million dollar Trent Port Marina.
These developments interwoven with the existing regional employment trend will result in an estimated 4,600 new jobs by 2016. This is good news for a region that saw a 1.4 percent decline in job creation over the past year.
“The report outlines a series of mixed results providing examples of positive news while highlighting some downward trends,” says Belleville CEO Bill Saunders. “We continue to believe that Belleville specifically and the Quinte Region in general are experiencing more gains than losses and our overall economic trend is more favorable than that described for census region covered by this report.”
Although housing sales dropped in 2014, they are expected to pick up again in 2015 and 2016 as housing sales are projected to grow by 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. The average sale price will edging higher over the next two years to a high of $251,000.
“This report covers a very wide region and unfortunately at this time it is hard to break the numbers out to just the Quinte Region,” says Suzanne Andrews, general manager at the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. “Local economic development officers tend to feel the high unemployment rate and low job creation numbers are not reflective of the Quinte area but the low population growth is, and the region needs to concentrate on attracting more people to live here in the next few years.”
Future growth in the regional economy will depend on external factors. Here, the outlook is bright. The lower Canadian dollar, higher U.S. economic growth, and the consumer and business lift from lower oil prices will play a positive role in underpinning growth through the forecast period.
“The Economic Outlook report looks at aggregate data from a very large geographic area, but isn’t particularly helpful in reflecting what’s happening the Quinte economic sub-region.” says Michael McLeod, General Manager of the Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce. “I think we have to be cautious about how much weight we give to the results of the report because of the special symbiotic relationship of local economic drivers in the Quinte region that don’t exist elsewhere in the broader Kingston – Pembroke area.”
The Kingston-Pembroke Economic Region includes the Kingston metropolitan area and the Frontenac townships, the counties of Lennox and Addington, Hastings, Renfrew, and Prince Edward. It has a population of more than 460,000 people.
Key Facts and Highlights:
- The region will experience modest employment growth at 1.2 percent in 2015 and 1.0 percent in 2016. This compares to the 1.4 percent regional decline in 2014.
- Housing sales declined in 2014, but are expected to pick up again in 2015 and 2016 as housing sales grow by 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.
- Housing prices remain among the lowest in south/eastern Ontario, with the average sale price of a housing rising to $247,900 in 2014. Housing prices will increase slightly in 2015 (0.2 percent price increase) and in 2016 (1.0 percent price increase).
- Private sector investment is helping drive growth in the region. For example, FedEx is launching a new parcel transfer centre in Belleville in 2015. Belleville’s Vision Transportation Systems will be expanding their operations in the near future.
Download the full economic outlook at: http://quintewestchamber.ca/publication-page
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