Northeastern Ontario economy to grow in 2014, led by resource industries

Date ArticleType
1/15/2014 Press Release

TIMMINS, January 15, 2014—Northeastern Ontario’s sluggish economy may see slightly brighter days ahead due to some improvements in the mining sector, according to a new economic outlook from the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, the Credit Unions of Ontario, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Entitled Regional Economic Outlook - Northeast, the report suggests that the region will see modest employment growth over the next two years, regaining nearly 4,000 jobs by 2015 after having lost 8,400 jobs over 2012 and 2013.

The region’s unemployment rate will fall from a high of 7.8 percent in 2011 to 6.6 percent in 2015. Job creation is expected to outpace growth in the labour force for the Northeastern region, which includes the districts of Cochrane, Timiskaming, Nipissing, Sudbury, Parry Sound, Manitoulin, and Algoma.

Industries contributing most to economic growth are primary resource industries, retail-wholesale trade, health-social services and a variety of other service industries. Construction contributes only marginally to forecast growth.

“Although there continue to be some challenges, including outmigration and tightened government spending, there are some cautiously positive economic signs on the horizon,” said Phil Barton, President, Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

The housing market continues to perform strongly throughout the Northeast. Housing prices in the region rose at an average rate of 4.3 percent over the last three years, from $200,457 in 2011 to $214,500 in 2013.

The average price of a home is projected to grow by over 8 percent over the next two years.

Major projects in the region will contribute to investment spending and employment. For example, construction continues on Ontario Hydro’s $2.5-billion investment in hydroelectric infrastructure in the Lower Mattagami River north of Timmins, as well as at the New Post Creek hydroelectric project. Construction has also begun on Goldcorp’s Hollinger open pit project.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, construction on Vale’s emission reduction project at the Copper Cliff Smelter in Sudbury continues through 2015. Construction is also projected to begin in 2014 on Vale’s $814 million Copper Cliff underground nickel mine expansion near Sudbury.

The White River Sugar Zone and Kenora-Kenbridge mines and mills are both in the permitting stage with construction completion expected in 2015. In Sault Ste. Marie, construction continues in the near term on the St. Mary’s co-generation plant.

“With 2013 having been a challenging year for our region, it’s encouraging to see that our resource sectors continue to seek stability and strength,” said Barton.

Key Facts and Highlights:

  • After overall job losses in 2012 and 2013, the region will see a modest rebound over the next two years, as it regains nearly 4,000 jobs.
  • Northeastern Ontario’s unemployment rate will fall from a high of 7.8 percent in 2011 to 6.6 percent in 2015, as job creation outpaces growth in the region’s labour force.
  • Housing prices in the region continue to grow rapidly, at an average rate of 4.3 percent over the last 3 years, from $200,457 in 2011 to $214,500 in 2013. The average price of a home is projected to grow by over 8 percent over the next two years.
  • The region’s population is in decline, losing an average of over 2,000 people a year over the last two years.
  • Cliffs Resources’ decision to halt their operations in Ontario has created uncertainty around the future of the proposed chromite smelter in Capreol, just outside of Sudbury, which would have created thousands of jobs.

To learn more, download the full economic forecast document.

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About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With 800 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.

Contact:
Nick Stewart
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
(705) 360-1900
policy@timminschamber.on.ca