Economist bullish on Oshawa’s economic future, despite spectre of high interest rates


Published May 9, 2024 at 3:27 pm

Downtown Oshawa

A slowdown in business spending over last two quarters after a strong bounce-back from the pandemic is putting a damper on economic expectations in Oshawa but an “impressively resilient” performance – despite high interest rate issues – has at least one economist bullish about the city’s future.

“Oshawa’s economy has lost a few steps over the past year,” TD Vice resident and Deputy Chief Economist Derek Burleton – in town for the annual TD Economic Outlook event – acknowledged. “In particular, the higher rate environment has sapped the spending power of consumers and businesses in recent quarters. But all things being equal, I would still characterize the region’s performance as impressively resilient. And I suspect the second half of 2024 will see a stronger performance than the first half.”

Burleton delivered the 20th annual economic forecast to business professionals and community leaders from across the GTA at the breakfast event, presented by the City’s Economic Development Services branch with TD Commercial Banking and the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.

He provided a local perspective on Oshawa’s economic landscape and highlighted key aspects of the global, national, and Ontario economies.

“Our forecast assumes that Canadian inflation will continue to ease and interest rates begin to fall by the summer, which will help to spur improved spending and hiring momentum. Housing markets are also set to benefit from lower borrowing costs, after a slower start to the year.”

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter and Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri, Chair of the Economic and Development Services Committee, delivered welcoming and closing remarks.

“Looking back on our history, Oshawa has always thrived in the face of global and national pressures, proving time and again, our strength and resilience,” said Carter. “With our diverse population, rich talent pool and robust economy, Oshawa stands ready for a future of exciting growth and opportunity.”

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter at the podium

Both Carter and Marimpietri spoke of Oshawa’s record-breaking growth, noting Oshawa has tracked $1 billion in commercial, industrial and institutional development over the past five years, with major industrial companies bringing their global operations and thousands of new jobs. These new employment opportunities are making Oshawa one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and a destination of choice to live, work, learn and invest, said Marimpietri.

“Oshawa is successfully driving an exciting new metropolitan direction, attracting massive job-creating investment in our community, propelling prestige industrial growth with millions of economic spin-off to unprecedented levels in our city,” he said. “Prime, centrally located employment lands like Northwood Business Park remain a magnet for industry-leading blue-chip global giants from around the world, drawn to the unique opportunities Oshawa has to offer as a critical gateway to the most populous area of Canada and as one of Toronto’s most dynamic neighbours.”

Industrial development lands at the business park has already attracted major job creating tenants like global diary leader Lactalis Canada and international retail supply chain giant Martin Brower.

Significant investments and key developments taking place across the city represent over 7,000 direct jobs in Oshawa since 2020, Marimpietri added.

The City’s Economic Development team also presented additional highlights, including the recent launch of the Oshawa Economic Development Strategy, a 10-year plan that focuses on enhanced trade, diversification and quality of life and positions Oshawa for future economies, opportunities and overall growth.

“As we navigate a landscape marked by both significant challenges and emerging opportunities, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering community prosperity,” said Jason King, CEO of the chamber. “Despite facing headwinds like high interest rates and evolving consumer behaviours, there’s an underlying current of optimism within our local business community. We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to hear from Derek and learn how we can leverage his insights alongside this data and optimism to strengthen our pathway to sustainable growth for Oshawa.”


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