Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole presented its annual report of the city’s economic situation and the organization’s activities in 2016 to a hundred or so local business representatives today. In the midst of an unprecedented real estate boom, the city of Saint-Hyacinthe’s economy is reported to be excellent. Most of the economic indicators are back on an upward trend, some even reaching record levels.
“The Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole team is making every effort to play a frontline role in developing Saint-Hyacinthe’s economy and businesses. In 2016, it was involved in nearly 200 projects to attract or develop businesses and events on the city’s territory. In addition to highlighting local entrepreneurs’ daring and drive, the positive economic report for 2016 is a sign of our efforts bearing fruit,” said André Barnabé, general manager of Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole.
Record year for commercial investments
Saint-Hyacinthe’s commercial sector had a landmark year in 2016, with a reported $81.26 M in capital investments, the highest in its history. Leading the way in the commercial report for 2016, representing 69% of the investments, is the major project to build a new convention centre and Sheraton hotel. Excluding these investments, Saint-Hyacinthe had its second-best commercial development year in the last 10 years, with $25.26 M invested. Up 4.3% compared to last year, the investment level broke the 2009 record for a second consecutive cycle.
The city of Saint-Hyacinthe territory now hosts over 1,400 goods and service businesses. Of these, 1,047 are in the retail and service-to-individuals sectors and 369 occupy office and administrative service spaces. The region’s commercial core covers nearly 6 million square feet. It has a very enviable occupancy rate of 91.1%, based on all the commercial spaces available on the territory.
Significant net gain in manufacturing jobs
While still slightly affected by the economic slowdown around the world and in other parts of Quebec, the Maskoutan manufacturing sector is in the midst of a turnaround. According to its round of industrial visits and the data it collected during the year, the Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole team calculated $116.2 M invested by the goods-producing industries on the city of Saint-Hyacinthe’s territory, nearly 2.6% more than the previous year. This slight growth bodes well for a return to the average investment level in the last few years, a prediction economists agree on.
This recovery drove up the number of industrial jobs created on our territory. Despite several major streamlining projects announced during the year, the new jobs largely made up for such losses. The net gain in manufacturing jobs was one of the highest since the start of the decade, rising above the average for the last 6 years and the pre-crisis level with 293 jobs created. This is an undeniable sign of a solid and healthy secondary sector.
A total of 102 investment projects were carried out in Saint-Hyacinthe in 2016, with 95 expansion projects and 7 new industries setting up in the area.
Saint-Hyacinthe: the top business tourism destination outside major urban centres
Last year was pivotal for tourism development. Still lacking a convention infrastructure, the economic report for this area of activity remained affected for a fourth consecutive year, namely as concerns direct spending by visitors.
Despite this, Saint-Hyacinthe and its region had a positive tourism season in 2016, with several indicators on the rise. First, the hotel sector reported a good performance. The average occupancy rate for local establishments rose 5%, settling at 65%. That is 16% higher than the regional average and 8% higher than the provincial average. The average room rate in Saint-Hyacinthe remained stable, while regional and provincial averages rose 5% and 4%, respectively.
Direct business tourism spending reached a half-million dollars in 2016, a slight increase compared to the previous year. The start of activities at the new Saint-Hyacinthe convention centre should gradually push this indicator over the million-dollar mark. These economic benefits were generated by 17 major events and conventions, accounting for 2,255 bed-nights.
“Given the current economic outlook, we are very optimistic about the growth and development of our city and its businesses, in all the sectors Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole covers including tourism, commerce and industry,” concluded the Technopole’s president, Bernard Forget.