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Conference Board predicts modest growth for Thunder Bay

Think tank says manufacturing will have a better year
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Thunder Bay from Mt McKay

THUNDER BAY -- The Conference Board of Canada forecasts modest improvement in Thunder Bay's economy in 2018.

In its Winter 2018 Metropolitan Outlook, the board predicts a 1.0 per cent increase in the city's Gross Domestic Product.

The independent, not-for-profit think tank researches economic trends and policies.

In a report issued Tuesday, the Conference Board said manufacturing activity in Thunder Bay "is expected to pick up somewhat this year, in line with a below par Canadian dollar and healthy U.S. economy."

Manufacturing grew by only 0.2 per cent last year, it said, and should grow by 1.2 per cent this year.

The report said Thunder Bay's services sector is set to expand at a similar pace to last year, with transportation and warehousing poised to post the biggest gain in the services group.

The construction sector, however, is expected to remain virtually flat from now through 2019.

"With the north-side waterfront makeover largely complete and new courthouse long finished, Thunder Bay appears to have no new major construction projects in its immediate future."

Housing starts are forecast to fall in 2018, with employment predicted to stabilize after growing by over 2 per cent last year.