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Conference Board of Canada Projects Positive Economic Direction For Lethbridge


LETHBRIDGE:  After decades of focusing on big city economies, the Conference Board of Canada, is now looking at the economic outlook of mid-sized cities. One of the eight cities it chose to shine the spot-light on in it's first ever mid-sized cities outlook, is Lethbridge. (The other seven centres are Fredericton, Sept-Iles, Rimouski, Granby, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Brandon and Red Deer).


Statistics are now available which show that in the seven years between 2005 and 2012, Lethbridge's G-D-P rose to $487-Million. The city also gained 8800 jobs, which was far higher than job growth in Red Deer, which recorded job gains of 3700 in the same time period, and Grande Prairie, where jobs gains are at 5400.

As to why the Conference Board has added to its reporting data, Lethbridge Economic Development CEO Cheryl Dick explains, "I've been talking about this since I took on this job eight years ago, because as we started to evaluate and pull together data that would allow us to understand how Lethbridge compares to other markets, it became really evident to me that, nationally, there's a ton of data and analysis done on large city competitiveness but not on mid-size cities of our nature, so I've been advocating for this from a number of the think-tanks for a while. I think this is just a starting point - the Conference Board decided they would try this as a pilot and, hopefully, other mid-sized cities would come on more over time".


When asked why Lethbridge was chosen to be among the pilot group, Dick noted," I've been going to the Conference Board presentations for a number of years and each time I would talk to their senior economist, Glen Hodgson, about that. I think they talked to a few other communities and figured out that there was enough interest to perhaps give it a go, as a pilot project".


Dick admits she wasn't really sure what sort of data would come from the Conference Board's evaluation when the city participated. However, she was not surprised by the numbers for Gross Domestic Product, which showed a "nice, gradual incline". Dick says,  "That reinforces the message that we've been talking about all the time, around Lethbridge being a stable market - that was significant to see, because that (the numbers) verified what we were saying".


According to Dick, “While the year-over-year per cent changes in employment and GDP show some significant annual adjustments, the performance between 2005 and 2012 shows Lethbridge has made reasonable gains in both employment and GDP over time. It’s also important that the Conference Board is projecting positive directions in all economic indicators for 2013 and 2014.”


Posted on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 4/20/2014 4:16:21 PM
Source: Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter) -- Country 95 News
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