06/12/2013 03:44 EDT

Provinces With The Best, Worst Economies: Newfoundland To Lead In 2013, Conference Board Says


Here's a sentence you don't read every day: Newfoundland is going to lead the country in economic growth.

The province’s GDP is expected to rise a stunning 6.1 per cent in 2013 while the rest of the country faces “very uneven” growth, the Conference Board of Canada says in its latest provincial outlook.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 4.8 per cent in 2012. But the provincial economy will make all of that up and more in 2013, growing by an estimated six per cent this year,” the Board said Wednesday.

The province's oil production is expected to leap 12.5 per cent this year, and investment in the energy sector is projected to hit a record high.

The Board expects the trend to continue into 2014, with Newfoundland leading economic growth next year as well, albeit at a more modest, 3.4-per-cent pace.

Three other provinces — Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — will also grow above the national average, but the Conference Board warned that “the economic risks to these provinces are mounting.”

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The board noted that some Western Canadian resource projects have been put on hold “due to an uncertain outlook for commodity prices, higher development costs and a lack of certainty about new pipeline construction.”

The report warned that the rest of the country will see uneven growth due to low business investment and government austerity measures, which are expected to take a toll on some provinces.

Ontario and Quebec will each see an anemic 1.4-per-cent growth rate in 2013, the report forecast.

“Business investment in both provinces is expected to decline due to weaker housing and non-residential construction. And both provincial governments continue to pursue austerity programs that aim to restore balanced budgets,” the Board said.