Thursday
Dec172015

It's in the data - the story of rebuilding Ptbo

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Credit Unions of Ontario recently released Ontario Economic Update 2016.  The document tells us the story of Peterborough over the past year and provides a glimpse into what the future could hold.  

The report tells us that the housing market is driving growth.  There was a 16.4 percent increase in residential sales to October of this year, compared to last year.  This increase has pushed the average price of a home to $295,000.  Peterborough saw a surge in apartment building permits at the end of 2014 that has contributed to an increase in housing starts. Peterborough is ahead of 2014 in non-residential building construction investment spending.  

Employment is expected to grow about 1.8 percent in 2016 and then stabilize around 1.3 percent in 2017.  The authors of the report also predict we’ll see unemployment stabilize at just over 7.5 percent, which would make for the lowest average unemployment rate in a decade.  Population growth will also be on the positive side, increasing 0.8 percent in 2016.  

“We are pleased to see positive growth is expected for Peterborough in each of the next two years,” says Stuart Harrison, President  & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “This is reflective of what we are seeing with new businesses setting up shop in all sectors of our economy and areas of the city and county.”

So what does this all mean?  What is the big picture?  This is the story of a city that is in the final stretch of rebuilding.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve done it.  Peterborough is transforming from the traditional
manufacturing town of recent decades to a city with a diverse and vibrant economy.  Manufacturing, while still a key sector, is now defined as an advanced manufacturing sector with an emphasis on innovation; the Peterborough retail sector is chugging along with a good mix of unique stores and chain franchises; the public sector is strong between the university, college, hospital and municipal services; the agricultural sector is bringing new products to market; and the strategic emergence of an entrepreneurial hub caps off 2015 with a flourish.  

There are also a number of external factors that will have a positive impact on Peterborough.  The lower Canadian dollar will be good for tourism and our economic sectors who are exporting to the U.S. and beyond.  A stronger U.S. economy will also help drive growth in Ontario. The federal and provincial governments have promised a focus on infrastructure projects. These projects will stimulate growth across a variety of sectors.  

“Ontario businesses are helping Ontario emerge stronger from the downturn,” says Allan O’Dette, President & CEO, OCC. “In order to generate sustained economic growth, government must invest in infrastructure, close the skills gap, and ensure that input costs do not stifle investment or job creation.”  

To that end, there is a large role for chambers of commerce to play, “the Chamber will continue to lobby and develop recommendations to help mitigate the impact of the cumulative effect of significant provincial policy changes such as ORPP, WSIB rate framework reform, electricity prices, and Cap and Trade,” adds Harrison.

The takeaway from the Ontario Economic Update 2016: Peterborough CMA report is that the recent period of instability and uncertainty has afforded Peterborough an opportunity to explore the importance of
community, dialogue and a common goal.  Success calls for a willingness to be dynamic. It’s not always easy, but the results of this report prove that it’s necessary.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

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