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BMO: Windsor Economy Shifts out of Reverse; Let's Create 2000 Jobs Together

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

- Unemployment rate expected to drop to pre-recession levels

- Non-residential construction a bright spot for the coming years

- Positives in auto sector, with higher production

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



WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2012) - The next four years will bring 2,000 new jobs to Windsor, according to a new report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics.

The report on Windsor 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 Windsor's economy," said Eddie Francis, Mayor, City of Windsor. "City Council is working hard to diversify the economy and match new employment and career opportunities for residents with companies seeking an excellent return on their investment."

"The people and businesses of Windsor have shown a remarkable resilience and determination," said Mike Taylor, Commercial Banking Area Manager, Windsor and Essex County, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Now that we have turned the corner, it's more important than ever for our local businesses to drive ahead and make important investments in new equipment, in expanding their operations and in hiring people. Let's create these 2000 jobs together. I want to see Windsor businesses 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 City of Windsor and the County of Essex are home to exceptional entrepreneurs, high tech industries, great social services and highly productive agriculture," said Alan Wildeman, President, University of Windsor. "The University of Windsor, along with St. Clair College, is positioning itself with new academic programs and facilities that are encouraging partnerships with industry and our community. Our new Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation, our downtown campus dedicated to the arts and social work, and the new Windsor Program of Western University's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry will provide significant long term opportunities for the region to continue to develop as a creative and innovative part of Ontario and an important close neighbour to the United States."

"Employment has stabilized in Windsor after the recession took a major toll on the local labour market," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Looking out over the medium term, the city will likely see about 2,000 jobs created by 2016, and the unemployment rate should fall gradually to just above eight per cent, about two percentage points above the Ontario average and near pre-recession levels."

Real Estate/Construction

  • Non-residential construction will be a bright spot in the city in the years ahead.
  • Construction has begun on the $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, and is expected to open to traffic in late-2014, improving truck traffic through the major Canada-U.S. border crossing.
  • Construction of a new international bridge between Windsor and Detroit (expected to cost about $1 billion) is eventually expected to be given the official go-ahead.
  • Existing home sales are running at levels consistent with long-run norms. Some positive momentum does appear to be emerging with average prices up 10 per cent year-over-year through April.

Auto sector

  • Canadian auto production was up more than 12 per cent year-over-year in the first four months of 2012, and back to pre-recession levels.
  • Ford recently announced that it will undergo a shorter-than-normal summer shutdown at a number of its plants (including the Essex Engine plant in Windsor) to meet improved demand.

Population Growth

  • Windsor's demographics remain a challenge, with recent population declines.
  • However, the city recorded back-to-back monthly population gains in March and April for the first time since 2006 - a trend worth watching in the year ahead.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.bmonesbittburns.com/economics/reports/20120612/SR120612.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 Contacts:
Peter Scott
416-867-3996
PeterE.Scott@bmo.com

Paul Cunliffe
416-867-3996
paul.cunliffe@bmo.com