BMO Economics Special Report: The Great Lakes Region a Vital Driver of North America's Economy

BMO Economics Special Report: The Great Lakes Region a Vital Driver of North 
America's Economy 
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- (Marketwired) -- 04/25/14 --  BMO Economics
today released a special report, North America's Economic Engine, on
the economic output from the Great Lakes region. The report was
released to coincide with the Council of Great Lakes Governors
meeting, taking place in Chicago on April 25-26, 2014. 
The reports notes that the region is a major driver of North American
economic output, employment and trade, accounting for nearly a third
of combined Canadian and U.S. output, jobs and exports. 
"The Great Lakes region has so much going for itself with
transportation infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, research and
development, digital manufacturing, strong locally-rooted financial
institutions, and some of the world's best post-secondary
institutions," said Ambassador David Jacobson, Vice-Chair, BMO
Financial Group. "I am delighted that the Council of Great Lakes
Governors meeting is taking place here in Chicago, which is home to
dozens of Fortune 1000 companies. We are a city like no other when it
comes to reinventing itself. The discussions over the next two days
here in Chicago will allow us to explore opportunities to create
jobs, strengthen trade, open doors to new discoveries, and drive
innovation and prosperity for all in the region." 
According to the report, economic activity across the eight states
and Ontario has improved after being hard hit during the recession,
and is forecasted to continue growing through 2014. Economic output
was $4.9 trillion in 2012, and the region accounts for 28 percent of
combined Canadian and U.S. economy activity.  
"The Great Lakes region is a power house not just in terms of the
North American economy, but on the global stage. If the region was a
country, it would rank as the fourth largest economy in the world,
behind only the U.S., China and Japan," said Michael Gregory, Head of
U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "While we did see activity slow
down notably from 2007 to 2009, we've seen a bounceback across the
states and in Canada, with the auto sector being a key contributor."  
The region employed more than 46 million workers in 2013, accounting
for nearly 30 percent of the combined Canadian and U.S. workforce, in
a wide range of industries. 
"Historically, this has been a hub for manufacturing, but employment
has diversified and factory-sector employment now makes up just over
10 percent of the workforce across the region - down five percentage
points from a decade ago," said Mr. Gregory. "We've seen double digit
job growth in education and healthcare, as well as professional
services, with retail and wholesale trade and government services
also making a strong contribution to employment." 
The report also notes the importance of trade within the region and
across borders. Nearly a quarter of U.S. merchandise exports came
from the region in 2013, while Ontario accounted for 40 percent of
Canadian shipments. The main drivers were transportation equipment
and machinery, followed by agricultural and food products, metals and
"Trade between the Great Lakes states, and cross-border trade, is
vital to the smooth running of this economic engine. The North
American Free Trade Agreement has played a pivotal role, as has the
Beyond the Border Action Plan. Policy aimed at improving trade flows
will further support growth in the region," said Mr. Gregory. "The
bridge between Windsor and Detroit is just one recent example we've
seen, which will not only improve border infrastructure but serve to
facilitate increased trade." 
To view a full copy of the report, visit  
About BMO Financial Group  
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a
highly diversified financial services organization based in North
America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth
management and investment banking products and services to more than
12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $593
billion and more than 45,500 employees at January 31, 2014.  
About BMO Harris Bank   
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products
and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300
ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota,
Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team
provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and
mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO
Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and
services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank
or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank(R) is a trade name used by BMO
Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO
Financial Group, a North American financial organization with
approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $593 billion in assets (as of
January 31, 2014). 
Media contact:
Alexis Brown, Chicago
Peter E. Scott, Toronto
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