The Conference Board is naming the auto manufacturing town of Windsor as ground zero of the economic recession.
The Ottawa-based think-tank says the slump is punishing small- and medium-sized towns across Canada, but none so much as Windsor, which is expected to see its economy contract 5.6 per cent this year.
By contrast, most economists estimate the national economy will shrink by about 2.5 per cent in 2009 compared with last year.
In its analysis of 14 small and medium-sized cities, the Conference Board says Ontario’s manufacturing communities are suffering the most. Among the eight hardest hit, seven are in Ontario. The exception is St. John’s, N.L., which will experience a 3.6 per cent gross domestic product retreat this year due to sharply reduced oil production.
The other members of the slumping eight are Sudbury (minus 4.0 per cent), Thunder Bay (minus 3.1), London (minus 2.8 per cent), St. Catharines-Niagara (minus 2.7 per cent), Kitchener (minus 2.6 per cent), and Oshawa (minus 2.5 per cent).
Of the 14 cities studied nationally, only Saint John, N.B., will experience growth this year, although a modest 0.9 per cent.