The Conference Board of Canada recently published a new report entitled, Provincial Outlook: Winter 2016, which looks at what we can expect with BC economy in the short term.
So, is the economy expected to grow or contract?
For those answers and more, CKNW producer Claire Allen spoke with Associate Director of the CBOC, Marie Christine Bernard.
What is the forecasted growth for B.C. in 2016 and 2017?
“BC has been doing quite well over the last few years. In terms of the economic growth, it lead all of the other provinces in 2015. This year we are seeing the economy remain quite strong and dynamic. We have a very positive outlook for British Columbia, it will again lead all other provinces. And we have 2.7 % in terms of economic growth for this year and 3.4% in 2017.”
LISTEN to the full interview with Marie Christine Bernard here:
What factors are attributed to this projected growth?
“First we’re seeing a much more dynamic or stronger domestic economy. Consumer demand is quite strong in British Columbia. We saw strong retail sales in 2015, and as you may know… there is a lot of momentum right now in the housing market. Very robust housing demand. We are seeing prices increase rapidly for existing homes, but we are also seeing a lot of demand, so a lot of transactions. And at the same time we are seeing strong demand for new housing, so the construction sector will do quite well in part because of the strong residential demand for new homes. With a strong domestic economy, we also saw a pickup in job creation. So employment is doing quite well right now and that should continue over the near term as the economy remains very strong.”
For those reasons, British Columbia is outpacing all other provinces when it comes to economic growth in 2016. According to the conference board of Canada’s report, only Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia can expect to see their economy grow by more than 2 per cent this year.
The report states that the provinces like Saskatchewan and New Brunswick will see modest growth prospects in 2016. However, the province that is hurting the most is Alberta. The conference board of Canada states that Alberta’s economy is expected to shrink by a further 1.1 per cent in 2016 as the slump in oil prices continues to weigh on the provinces economy.
WATCH: B.C. to lead Canada with 2.7% growth in 2016
How do outlooks for other provinces impact BC?
“The outlook right for the economy of Canada… the economy is quite soft and that is because of the difficulties in the provinces that are dependent in the oil industry. The recession in Alberta is pulling down the economic outlook for Canada, but it’s helping in terms of B.C.’s economic outlook. When Alberta was booming, prior to the oil downturn that we are seeing right now… Alberta did very well between 2011 and 2014 and it was attracting a lot of workers from other provinces and it was boosting wages up because the demand for workers was very strong. So, it made other provinces… it was difficult for other provinces to attract the necessary labour to help their economy perform better. But now that we are seeing a slowdown and a recession in Alberta, it’s kind of helping other provinces cope with strong wage increases and finding the necessary workers for their economy.”