No end in sight to Laval business boom

The Suburban, le 19 juillet 2017

 

Fasten your seat belts because Laval’s economy is set to outstrip the province’s growth for at least the next two years, Mouvement Desjardins predicts.

Quebec’s financial giant released an eight-page study containing the good news about the city’s economic prospects.

It forecast GDP per Laval resident to grow 5.3% to $35,265 in 2018 from $33,500 in 2016. At the same time, unemployment is slated to fall to 6.8% from 7.3%, driving up demand for labour here, as an increasing portion of the city’s population retires. By 2021, about one in six Laval residents will have celebrated their 65th birthday.

 

The Quebec government statistics bureau projects that the city’s population will grow by 6.4% between now and 2021, compared to only 3.8% for the province.

“Health, social servce and teaching manpower will continue to grow through 2018,” Dejardins anticipates. The influx of new workers will pressure the housing market. It will push the vacancy rate down to 2.7% by 2018, down ten percent from Laval’s 3% level last year.

Construction to house the newcomers will bolster Laval’s construction industry for the next few years. Desjardins also singled out the city’s agri-park initiative as a growth engine for the city’s economy “that hosts business and serves as an incubator to support up-and-coming animal husbandry techniques and production technology.”

Laval hotels will continue their unmitigated success, by delivering the best value in the province. Their nearly 80% occupancy rate easily outstripped every other region in Quebec last year, including Montreal, drawing a flood of tourist dollars to the city.

“All roads lead to Laval”

 

Desjardins also praised Laval’s commitment to improving mobility.

“To improve transit in the region and to attract business to develop applications and technology that facilitate mass-transit, particularly in its industrial parks,” a new “intelligent transit” centre is slated to open in Laval this summer as an incubator for imaginative startup companies.

Deputy Mayor David De Cotis, who leads Laval’s economic development efforts, welcomed the projections. Last year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business declared Laval Quebec’s most business-friendly big city. Now he wants to capitalize upon that success to turn Laval into the most business-friendly city in Canada.

“We encouraged companies to locate here by introducing a five-year tax break,” he told The Suburban in an interview. “Businesses that come to Laval tend to stay. We’re ideally located geographically, close to Montreal and Mirabel airports and crisscrossed by highways 13, 15, 25 and 440. All roads lead to Laval.”

Last year, De Cotis urged the province to contribute to Laval’s success by improving the skill-set of its workforce. For a city its size, it has few higher-education facilities, and would welcome a new university campus as well as additional French and English CEGEPs that would bolster the competitiveness of its workforce.

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