OTTAWA - The Conference Board of Canada says Manitoba and the Maritime provinces are the only Canadian provinces whose economies will grow this year.

The Ottawa-based economic think-tank says those provinces aren't prone to boom-bust cycles and have been sheltered from the economic downturn.

The Conference Board says government stimulus money for infrastructure is expected to push New Brunswick's economic growth to the head of the pack with a 0.9 per cent increase in gross domestic product.

Prince Edward Island's economy is projected to grow 0.8 per cent, Nova Scotia by 0.3 per cent and Manitoba by 0.8 per cent.

The recession continues to batter central Canada, with Ontario's economy expected to shrink by 3.1 per cent this year and Quebec's by 0.9 per cent.

The Western provinces's economies are also forecast to shrink, with the Conference Board projecting a 2.7 per cent drop in Saskatchewan, a 2.7 per cent drop in Alberta and 2.5 per cent drop in British Columbia.

Job losses and deep production cuts are expected to decrease Newfoundland and Labrador's economy by 3.4 per cent.

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