BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

May 31, 2013 08:41 ET

BMO Provincial Business Report: Access to Large Local Market Keeps Ontario Business Owners Optimistic for 2013

- Nearly one-quarter of businesses are expecting to hire in 2013

- Looking ahead: one third expect Canadian economy to improve in 2013

- Provincial economy continues to benefit from investments in the auto sector

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 31, 2013) - Business owners in Ontario are equally positive about the outlook for the Canadian economy this year as they are and their provincial economy for 2013, according to BMO Bank of Montreal.

The findings are part of a BMO poll of Ontario business owners, conducted by Pollara, to determine what local entrepreneurs see as the competitive advantage of doing business in their province. It revealed:

  • 23 per cent cited access to a large market with a high population as the main advantage to doing business in Ontario
  • 7 per cent saw familiarity with where they live, and intimate knowledge of their local market, as an advantage
  • The ability to cater to the appropriate clientele - being able to reach most of their clients within the same province - was cited by 3 per cent of those polled

"Business owners in Ontario can definitely take advantage of living in the most populous province. The results reinforce that our commercial clients in Ontario have the benefit of being in the same city or region as a number of their key customers," said Janet Peddigrew, District Vice-President, Mid Western Ontario, BMO Bank of Montreal.

Outlook for Growth in Ontario

When looking at the Canadian economy as a whole, one third (34 per cent) of Ontario business owners expect the Canadian economy to improve in 2013, while 30 per cent expect the Ontario economy to improve.

According to BMO Economics, Ontario's GDP is estimated to expand a modest 1.5 per cent in 2013, with momentum picking up later in the year. "The best news is arguably the firming U.S. economic recovery and better consumer spending trends south of the border. Three per cent-plus growth by the second half of the year will be of direct benefit to Ontario's economy," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "While auto production has cooled in recent months, North American sales trends remain firm, and auto producers continue to invest in Canada despite a strong currency."

Students Most Likely to Find a Job in Ontario

Canada's largest province by population saw modest job growth of 0.8 per cent in the last year, according to BMO Economics. The report found that 24 per cent of Ontario business owners expect their number of employees will increase in 2013.

The poll found prospective jobs for students are the brightest in Ontario, with more than half (56 per cent) of companies planning to hire a student or recent graduate as an intern or full-time employee.

"It's encouraging to see that business owners in Ontario are feeling confident and plan to add employees to their workforce this year. While the relatively high Canadian dollar is a continuing concern for businesses in Ontario, it also reinforces the ongoing importance for companies to improve their level of productivity and ensure they have provided their workforces with the tools they need to succeed," added Ms. Peddigrew.

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 $555 billion as at April 30, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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