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Dec 11, 2009
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Who knew? Toronto’s economy is on fire

Pamela Heaven Jan 19, 2012 – 12:52 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 19, 2012 12:57 PM ET

Toronto stumbled during the recession, but its recovery is firing on all cylinders, according to a Canadian ranking.

The country’s biggest city topped economic activity for the second quarter in a row on CIBC World Markets’ latest Canadian Metropolitan Economic Activity Index rankings.

“What’s so impressive about the ranking of Toronto in our current reading is not that the city is once again ranked first among the country’s largest 25 metropolitan areas, but the fact that it has been in the top five for more than six consecutive years,” said CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal.

Toronto tumbled to 7th place in the deepest, darkest days of the 2009 recession. Since then its population has shot up 3.9% — compared with 2.5% growth nationally — while employment has surged 4.6%, compared with 3.4% nationally. Most of the jobs have been full-time.

“The city’s index of economic momentum is currently at its highest level in more than 10 years led by growth in population, employment and housing starts,” said Mr. Tal.

Edmonton is another economic engine to beat, soaring to second place from 11th in the previous ranking. Employment here rose at the fastest pace of any Canadian city — up almost 8% year over year in the third quarter of 2011. Its jobless rate, 5.7%, is one of the lowest in the country.

“As well, Edmonton’s population is now rising by a year-over-year rate of 1.7% — well above the national average, while the numbers of consumer and business bankruptcies are among the lowest in the nation,” said Mr. Tal.

Ontario technology hub, Kitchener, slid slightly in this ranking, from second to third place, but the city kept its spot in the top five with strong population growth, relatively high job quality, robust construction and low levels of business and consumer bankruptcies.

Check below to see how your city fared:

CIBC Metropolitan Economic Activity Index (2011 Q3)

Rank CMA 3Q Moving Average

1) Toronto 23.0

2) Edmonton 20.0

3) Kitchener 18.0

4) Halifax 16.8

5) Vancouver 15.5

6) Ottawa 15.2

7) Montreal 14.9

8) Regina 13.8

9) Calgary 13.1

10) Trois-Rivieres 11.7

11) Quebec City 11.5

12) Winnipeg 11.1

13) St. John’s 11.0

14) Hamilton 10.7

15) Sherbrooke 9.5

16) Kingston 7.5

17) Saint John 7.1

18) Sudbury 6.7

19) Saskatoon 6.4

20) Victoria 5.9

21) St. Catharines-Niagara 5.6

22) London 5.2

23) Windsor 0.4

24) Saguenay -1.8

25) Thunder Bay -3.4

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