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BMO: Halifax Has Growth in its Sails-Let's Create 12,000 Jobs Together

BMO releases report on HRM - outlook for economy, housing and labour market

- Unemployment rate expected to drop to 4 per cent by 2016, with 12,000 new jobs created

- Housing market performing well and residential construction well-supported

- BMO offering support to Canadian businesses by making an additional $10 billion in credit available over next three years



HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - July 18, 2012) - Employment growth in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is expected to strengthen through 2016, with the addition of about 12,000 new jobs as shipbuilding activity ramps up, according to a special report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics - Halifax: Growth in its Sails. With the addition of these jobs, report states that the unemployment rate will be pulled down to pre-recession levels of 4 per cent.

The report on HRM is the latest in a series of economic and business overviews for various cities across Canada that will be published by BMO throughout the year.

"The BMO outlook delivers good news to both our residents and investors in the Halifax economy," said Fred Morley, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership. "We have been working hard to diversify our economy while drawing on our strengths such as shipbuilding, and matching new employment and career opportunities for residents with companies seeking an excellent return on their investment."

"Our commercial clients are confident and making important investments in new equipment, in expanding their operations and in hiring people," said Laura Charlton, District Vice-President, Nova Scotia at BMO Bank of Montreal. "I urge HRM businesses to get their share of the $10 billion in credit BMO has made available, giving them access to the capital they need to grow and get this city firing on all cylinders."

"The contract landed by Irving Shipbuilding to build combat ships for the Royal Canadian Navy will support the Halifax manufacturing and construction sectors for the next decade," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "We anticipate that 12,000 new jobs will be created by 2016 as shipbuilding activity ramps up, bringing the unemployment rate down toward 4 per cent."

Real Estate/Construction

Existing home sales totalled nearly 6,600 units in the twelve months to June 2012, the highest level since 2008.

Average prices continue to push to record levels, up 1.1 per cent year over year in June at just over $270,000. However, housing remains affordable in the city with average prices clocking in at less than four times estimated median family income - well below Canada's other major cities.

Non-residential construction has also been strong in recent years, boosted by government stimulus spending and other development such as King's Wharf. Further growth is expected going forward.

Population Growth

Population growth has slowed in Nova Scotia to 1.3 per cent from nearly 2 per cent prior to the recession, raising significant concerns as the demand for skilled labour in HRM is expected to ramp up in the coming years. International immigration is supporting growth, but interprovincial out-migration remains a concern - Nova Scotia saw net outward migration of nearly 3,700 people in the past year.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.bmonesbittburns.com/economics/reports/20120718/SR120718.pdf.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media Contact:
Ronald Monet, Montreal
(514) 877-1873
ronald.monet@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia