The City of St. John’s has released its 2012 economic outlook, and it shows strong industrial development driving a growing economy.
Employment, commercial construction, retail sales and personal income all increased in 2011 for the metropolitan St. John’s area.
Real GDP increased by 1.1 per cent in 2011, and is projected to grow by 0.8 per cent in 2012.
That number is being constrained by lower oil production, states the report.
Overall, it’s a positive report, said St. John’s Coun. Bruce Tilley, who chairs the economic development and tourism standing committee.
“The comprehensive growth we’ve seen is unbelievable,” he said.
Employment was up 4.5 per cent in 2011, and wage increases also rose, increasing 7.7 per cent over the previous year.
Those gains drove retail growth, which increased 6.5 per cent.
“It’s an exciting time to be in St. John’s, to be honest about it,” said Tilley.
Increased port activity, projects in Long Harbour and other major projects throughout the province have a positive effect on the city, said Tilley.
“It all has an impact on St. John’s because St. John’s is the place where they do their business,” he said.
Tilley said the city is working to improve infrastructure, and traffic is one of the challenges it faces.
Those challenges will be dealt with in the municipal plan the city is working on, he said.
Right now, Tilley said, council is hearing that residents want more green space, more parks and more leisure facilties.
“That will all be part of the municipal plan as we move on,” he said.
That plan will be an important tool for the future, said St. John’s Board of Trade vice-chairman Dennis Mahoney.
While the current growth is good news for business and the city, Mahoney said, future success will rely on planning.
“The municipal plan the city is reviewing now is going to be a key aspect to encouraging and fostering business development in the city in the years to come,” he said.
The Board of Trade would like to see the city continue to spend money on infrastructure development and core services.
“The ability of the business community to continue to thrive depends on strong infrastructure,” said Mahoney.