Ottawa well under way to balanced budget, but restraint saps growth, jobs: PBO

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OTTAWA - Canada's budget watchdog says federal spending curbs will shave 0.5 per cent from the economy by 2016 and result in about 46,000 fewer jobs.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer also anticipates that the government will virtually balance the budget during this current fiscal year, one year earlier than projected.

The estimates are contained in the PBO's latest economic and fiscal outlook, which on balance is a little more optimistic than previous forecasts.

The PBO says the economy is likely to advance by 2.1 per cent this year and remain above its potential growth rate until 2018.

The pace of growth and job creation would be even faster, the office says, but for spending restraints introduced in budget 2012 as a means to eliminate the deficit.

The PBO says the government will all but achieve its objective during this current fiscal year, which ends in March 2015, saying it expects the deficit to be a mere $500 million for the period, followed by a $7.8 billion surplus in fiscal year 2015-16.

In the March budget, the government said it expects this year's deficit to come in at $2.9 billion and the 2015-16 surplus at $6.4 billion.

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Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada

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