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March 29, 2001
City survey spotlights business community's outlook on Toronto's economic future
  
The City of Toronto's Economic Development Division today released Toronto
Business Outlook 2000, a comprehensive survey that imparts the Toronto business
community's views about prospects for business expansion and employment growth
in the city.

Toronto Business Outlook 2000 is the first survey of its kind for the city.
City staff plan to repeat the survey annually in order to keep City Council and
the municipal government abreast of Toronto's changing economy. The information
will help identify trends in the local marketplace and support the development
of policies and programs that bolster Toronto's economy.

"The results provide a snapshot of the outlook for growth in Toronto's key
industry clusters. The survey provides us with a brand new base of information
that we can use to better understand the character of Toronto's economy, to
track changes, and to identify economic challenges and opportunities," said
Brenda Librecz, Managing Director of the Economic Development Division.

The surveyors contacted decision-makers in 4,900 companies with 10 employees or
more during the autumn of 2000. More than 3,200 companies responded. The
response rate of 67 per cent is extraordinarily high for a survey of this type,
and demonstrates the business community's commitment to strengthening Toronto's
economy.

The survey was targeted at companies that operate in Toronto's key industry
clusters, as well as manufacturing companies and private-sector offices in
general. The 3,296 respondents represent more than one-third of all businesses
in the targeted industries within the City of Toronto. Retailers, restaurants
and non-profit employers were not included.

Respondents were asked a series of questions that probed their expectations
about hiring new staff during 2001 and 2002; the types of employee skills they
were seeking; whether they were experiencing difficulty in retaining or hiring
qualified staff; and whether they expect to expand or relocate their premises.
Companies were also asked if they export goods to services outside Canada.

Some key findings of the 2000 Survey include:
  • Sixty-three per cent of Toronto's manufacturing companies and 57 per cent of information technology companies serve markets outside Canada.
  • While few companies found it difficult to find and retain qualified labour, a shortage of skilled labour is a concern for 2001 and 2002, especially in trade, technical and professional positions.
  • Most companies lease rather than own their current location.


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