Media Release: Inaugural Ontario Economic Report Forecasts Outlook for Local and Provincial Economy: Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

· by Huzaifa Saeed

Hamilton, Ontario, February 8th, 2017: Today, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report (OER), a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The OER includes entirely new economic analyses that demonstrate the difficult economic environment faced by Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains exclusive economic information pertaining to Hamilton.

The report includes the results of the OCC’s new Business Confidence Survey conducted in partnership with Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and an Economic Outlook for 2017 prepared by Central 1 Credit Union. These datasets, viewed together, reveal broad challenges to Ontario’s economic health.

“Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.”

Economic outlook data reveals that the unemployment rate in the Hamilton census metropolitan area (CMA) is expected to drop to 5.8 percent (down from 6.2 percent in 2016) and the median residential housing price will be $410,000, reflecting a 4.6 percent increase over last year.

“Despite the modest growth in the service sector, real estate market and a below average unemployment rate, we remain concerned about the employment declines within the Manufacturing industries,” said Keanin Loomis, President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “While some economists remain optimistic for a recovery given the low dollar and potential US growth, the overall slowdown in the resource economy and unstable global market is equally a threat,” added Loomis.

Additional key findings in the OER are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that, despite total business prosperity increasing since 2000, prosperity is increasingly generated from asset and liability management rather than the production of goods or services. This means that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past.

While Ontario enjoyed an average 2.6 percent real GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2006, the source of wealth generated from the production of goods and services actually declined by 12 percent during that same period. Since the recovery from the “great recession”, production activities fell a further 12 percent over that period. Broadly, this means Ontario’s business prosperity is increasingly dependent upon non-production, financial activities.

“For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the OER reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.”

The results of the OER highlight the key policy issues that the OCC and Hamilton Chamber of Commerce intends to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, energy, and health care. Central to the organization’s work is the notion that industry and government tackle these issues together, in order to grow economic prosperity and drive positive change for all Ontarians.


CLICK HERE for the Ontario Economic Report w/recommendations

CLICK HERE for the Ontario Economic Analysis reviewing and predicting trends for the Hamilton economy.

For more information please contact: Huzaifa Saeed | Policy & Research Analyst | Hamilton Chamber of Commerce | t: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 | e: