Driven by surging manufacturing across North America, the London region is enjoying a "smoking hot" economy, said a national economist in London Friday.
The twin factors of a low Canadian dollar, and automotive manufacturing that is now topping pre-recession levels, are keeping plants humming, and workers on the job, said Peter Hall, chief economist with Export Development Canada.
"The industry is going gangbusters," he said, prior to a meeting with about 50 London businesses.
"This is a smoking hot sector right now, that is why there has been so much investment in Southwestern Ontario over the last year."
In his forecast, revealed Thursday, Ontario will see export gains this year of 11 per cent and next year will add six per cent increase in exports.
Automotive exports, including parts, make up more than a third of Ontario’s exports and will rise 13 per cent this year and a further four per cent in 2016, he added.
One need look at news this week that Toyota is adding more RAV4 production to its Cambridge assembly plant, Linamar in Guelph is investing $500 million and adding 1,200 workers, Chrysler in Windsor is getting a $2 billion investment with 600 new workers to be hired.
This year has also seen Honda investing $857-million at its Alliston plant, Ford is spending $700-million in Oakville and GM about $560-million to retool Cami Assembly.
"All of a sudden we are seeing a wave of activity, we said we would never see again," said Hall.