Conference Board of Canada expects 5% decrease in Saskatoon’s GDP growth

The Conference Board of Canada is projecting Saskatoon will be one of the hardest hit metropolitan economies this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A new report from the board shows it expects Saskatoon’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to drop 4.9 percentage points compared to 2019, making it the third worst-hit city behind Calgary and Edmonton.

The economic forecasting associate director said the pandemic has taken a drastic toll on the Canadian economy and no region is exempt from the negative economic impacts.

“All major metropolitan economies are forecast to contract in 2020. However, assuming the virus’ spread is contained, and firms can return to normal operations over the summer months, a recovery should begin in the second half of the year leading to sharp rebounds coast-to-coast in 2021,” Todd Crawford said in a press release.

The reported stated Saskatoon’s GDP dropped 1.2 percentage points from 2018 to 2019 and the pandemic and weak commodity prices will result in this year’s decrease.

“Soft commodity prices had kept Saskatoon’s economy lukewarm even before the coronavirus pandemic struck and oil prices collapsed. The local university and a small but vibrant tech sector provide some economic insulation,” the report said.

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However, it said 2021 is looking brighter because an increase in oil prices supports Saskatoon’s primary and utilities sector and an improved housing market will boost financial services and real estate.

The report added Saskatoon’s GDP growth is expected to increase 3.4 percentage points from 2021 to 2024.

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