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Olympics, infrastructure spending to spur recovery

Torchbearer Terry Kuliktana is seen carrying the Olympic Flame through Kugluktuk, NU., on Nov. 5.

Jonathan Hayward/Jonathan Hayward/CP

The Winter Olympics will boost British Columbia's economy in 2010, infrastructure spending will play a large role in Ontario's recovery, oil sands development will bolster Alberta's growth and a rebound in potash production will pull Saskatchewan out of the recession, the Conference Board of Canada said Thursday.

"Although the recovery is still fragile, weaknesses will dissipate in the next few months, and all provincial economies with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to grow in 2010," Marie-Christine Bernard, the Conference Board's associate director responsible for provincial outlooks, said in a report Thursday.

British Columbia will "top the podium" in 2010, buoyed by the Olympics and a rebound in the forestry sector, the Conference Board said.

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Here's the coast-to-coast breakdown:

British Columbia: GDP expected to grow by 4.2 per cent in 2010

"The global recession hit British Columbia hard, but the worst is over," the Conference Board said.

"Real gross domestic product is forecast to grow by 4.2 per cent in 2010. due to a comeback in the construction sector, recoveries in forest and manufacturing and hosting the Winter Olympic Games."

Alberta: Oil sands activity up, economy to grow by 3 per cent

"Alberta's economy suffered badly during the recession, but higher oil prices will spur oil sands development in 2010, benefiting the manufacturing and services sectors," the Conference Board said.

"After declining by 2.6 per cent in 2009, Alberta's real GDP is forecast to grow by 3 per cent next year."

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Saskatchewan: Potash will push growth to 3.7 per cent

"Potash production in Saskatchewan is down by almost 65 per cent since the start of the year, leading to a decline of 2.6 per cent in real GDP [in 2009]" the Conference Board said.

"But potash production is expected to rebound next year, and the Saskatchewan economy is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent in 2010."

Manitoba: Growth of 2.5 per cent expected, but 'swine flu' fears have hurt pork production

"Thanks to strong growth in construction and strength in some service industries, the Manitoba economy has remained in positive territory," the Conference Board said. However, the rising Canadian dollar and falling hog prices "due to fears related to the H1N1 "swine flu' pandemic are crippling the hog industry."

A strong increase in the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors - along with renewed growth in manufacturing - will grow the economy by 2.5 per cent next year.

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Ontario: GDP to grow by 3.2 per cent, boosted by infrastructure spending

"As the barrage of losses in a number of key industries subsides, Ontario can look forward to more normal economic conditions," the Conference Board said.

"Public infrastructure spending is playing a large role in the recovery. After contracting in 2008 and 2009, real GDP is forecast to grow by 3.2 per cent in 2010."

Quebec: Gold and electricity projects will help generate growth of 2.4 per cent

"Quebec was hit hard by the global recession - although not as badly as were Ontario and the Western provinces," the Conference Board said.

"In 2010, improving labour markets and strong non-residential investment in gold mining projects and electricity-generating capacity will help produce growth of 2.4 per cent."

New Brunswick: Infrastructure spending, forestry rebound will contribute to growth of 2 per cent

"Amid growing fears that the province was slipping into recession, the provincial government announced a bold economic rescue plan - a $1.2-billion infrastructure package and $402-million in tax cuts over the next two years. The measures have helped the economy avert recession and brightened the prospects for next year," the Conference Board said.

In addition to the government's stimulus spending, a recovering United States housing market should increase demand for wood products. The economy is expected to grow by 2 per cent next year.

Nova Scotia: Growth forecast at 1.9 per cent, boosted by infrastructure spending

"The outlook in Nova Scotia, in particular the industrial sector, will also benefit from the turnaround south of the border," the Conference Board said.

"Combined with continued public stimulus spending, the province is expected to advance by 1.9 per cent in 2010 after a gain of 0.4 per cent in 2009."

Prince Edward Island: Recession averted, but growth will be a modest 1.8 per cent

"Government stimulus is one of the principal reasons why the economy has not fallen into recession…A new five-year $510-million capital spending program will advance public non-residential investment at blistering rates through the rest of this year and 2010," The Conference Board said.

"Growth will accelerate slightly to 1.8 per cent in 2010, as global demand strengthens and trade shocks dissipate."

Newfoundland and Labrador: Won't see growth until 2011

"Offshore oil fields have passed peak production, workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine have been on strike since August, and permanently lower demand for newsprint has devastated pulp and paper mills," the Conference Board said.

"Declining offshore oil production and weaker construction activity over the year will prevent a recovery." The province's GDP is expected to decline by 0.5 per cent in 2010.

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