The local economy is poised to grow over the next couple of years, according to a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada. Sparked by a turnaround in the manufacturing sector, Sault Ste. Marie’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is a measure of all goods and services produced, is expected to grow by 1.1% per year throughout 2014 and 2015.
The findings are from the Conference Board’s recently-released Economic Insights Into Eight Canadian Mid-Sized Cities. Growth is also expected in the local employment level. In 2012, 34,000 individuals participated in the Sault Ste. Marie workforce. According to forecasts from the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, based on data from Statistics Canada, that number is expected to grow to more than 37,000 in 2014 and more than 38,000 in 2015. Though these levels are down from the 40,000-strong workforce in 2008, before the global recession hit, the recent trend is encouraging.
Other metrics, including population, personal income per capita and retail sales, are also on the rise, according to the Conference Board of Canada, which is the foremost independent, not-for-profit, applied research organization in the country. Essentially, with Sault Ste. Marie having managed its way through the global recession reasonably well, there appears to be promise for the local economy.
“We’re not growing by leaps and bounds, but there’s definitely a positive trend,” said Tom Dodds, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC). “The indicators are promising, meaning our future is as well.”
The SSMEDC presented these and other economic findings to City Council at its Sept. 8 meeting. The report from the Conference Board of Canada, along with the accompanying Economic Update & Analysis document from the SSMEDC, is available at www.sault-canada.com.
Also at the Sept. 8 meeting, Council approved a $100,000 Economic Development Fund (EDF) application from the SSMEDC for a three-year investment attraction and marketing initiative designed to create jobs and generate wealth in the community. It’s expected that the Municipal funding will be levered to secure matching dollars from senior levels of government.