Victoria: British Columbia is on track to remain one of Canada’s strongest economies in 2017 as most private sector economists, banks and economic think-tanks are forecasting the province will continue to record real GDP growth that ranks among the best in Canada.
Statistics Canada reported that B.C.’s real GDP grew by 3.3% in 2015, the highest rate of economic growth in Canada and a full 2.4 percentage points above the national average.
The Province’s independent Economic Forecast Council predicted on Nov. 25, 2016, B.C.’s economy will outperform Canada; on average, they forecast real GDP growth at 3.0% in 2016 and 2.3% in 2017.
British Columbia’s nation-leading GDP growth can be credited to its strong growth in retail sales, exports (especially to the United States) housing starts, and Canada-leading employment growth.
For 2016, projections for the province’s economic growth range between 2.9% (Scotiabank) to 3.4% (Conference Board of Canada), well above the Canadian real GDP growth rate of between 1.2% (Scotiabank) and 1.4% (TD Economics).
Next year, British Columbia’s real GDP is anticipated to show moderate growth, increasing between 1.7% (RBC Economics) and 2.5% (BMO). While B.C.’s growth will be tempered compared with the past two years, most economists and banks are forecasting it will be higher than Canada as whole, which is expected to grow from a low of 1.8% (RBC Economics) to a high of 2.1% (Conference Board of Canada) in 2017.
Looking to 2017 and beyond, TD Economics states that British Columbia’s above-average GDP growth will be spurred by consumer spending and that, “federal-provincial government stimulus (that) will add to growth over the next two years – especially in B.C. where the government will likely redeploy surpluses in new tax cuts and spending increases.”
The Province remains focused on keeping B.C. diverse, strong and growing. Uncertainty persists in the global economy, which is why B.C. will continue to create an environment that is welcoming to investment and business so this economic growth continues into the New Year.
Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance said: “British Columbians should be proud that their hard work has helped make B.C. Canada’s strongest economy. And we want to make sure all British Columbians benefit from this. That’s why we’ve introduced programs like the BC HOME Partnership, to help first time buyers purchase their first home, and are removing children from MSP premium payments. A strong B.C. economy benefits all and our government will continue to remain vigilant that includes balancing the books and making sure spending is sustainable.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and Minister Responsible for Labour said: “It is important that we continue to maintain strong economic growth, which translates directly into job creation and allows government to raise more revenue so we can invest in the things that matter most to British Columbians – like health care, education and our social safety net. A growing economy also means we can keep taxes low for working families – allowing them to keep more of what they earn in their pockets.”