Photo: James Paolo/Flickr
Though Toronto may consistently appear near the top half of economic rankings of major metros, the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) warns the city is seen as a middle-of-the-road performer.
In order to rank next to its North American counterparts like New York and San Francisco, a new report from the board says the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area has to do more to reach its full potential. According to TBOT’s Scorecard on Prosperity, which is based on 33 economic and labour indicators, the Toronto CMA ranked 5th out of 24 cities, down from the 3rd spot last year. Paris topped the ranking, followed by Stockholm.
The good? The Toronto CMA is known for its well-education population, diversified economy, an international airport and highly educated newcomers.
But the region isn’t capitalizing on international trade opportunities which, if seized, “could reverse our decade of declining
export levels.” In order for Toronto to have more of an edge, businesses need to look outside its typical trading partners and on to the growing economies of China, Central and Southern Asia and South East Asia.
“Most of Ontario’s trade will continue to be with the US because of our proximity. A small, open economy such as Toronto that relies on foreign demand for growth, needs to exploit opportunities elsewhere as well,” says TBOT.
Another key concern is labour productivity, which has declined 6 per cent in the last decade. Here, the potential improvements are very much infrastructure-related, with TBOT predicting productivity could grow by 10 per cent over the next ten years if the region were to shore up its regional transit, fix crumbling infrastructure and “improving the matching of workers’ skills sets with available jobs.”
For the Labour ranking, Toronto took 3rd place, but it slipped considerably for the Economy list, dropping to the 14th spot. Some of the indicators that lowered the city’s economic score were related to “the cost of doing business, such as total tax burden and office rents.”