BC More Than Holding Its Own Amid Global Economic Turbulence

At a time of pronounced global uncertainty, BC’s economy continues to grow at a decent pace and to outperform many other North American provinces and states. Although there are significant downside risks, BC’s economy remains quite resilient with a rapidly shrinking deficit, an increasingly diversified export sector and steady population growth.

Over the 2010-2011 period, BC’s real economic growth averaged 3% – the fourth strongest in Canada and among the top jurisdictions in North America. Although growth will ease over the coming 18 months, this resilience will help to sustain provincial economic activity and keep BC in a relatively strong position even in the face of weaker international conditions.

The Business Council’s mid year economic review and outlook anticipates that BC’s economy will grow by 2.0% for 2012 and 2.2% for 2013. Relative to our January outlook there is no change in the forecast for this year, but we have trimmed our growth projection for 2013 due to global turbulence and a slower local housing market.

Other highlights from the Council’s July 2012 BC Economic Review and Outlook include:

  • Of concern to resource exporting nations like Canada is an easing in Chinese growth to a still robust 7-8%. While BC coal shipments to China are up year over year, lumber and pulp shipments are down.
  • Although mixed across the province, BC’s job growth has improved, with the number of employees in the private sector up 2.6% and full time employment up 3% year-to-date.
  • The housing market is not anticipated to contribute much if at all to economic growth in BC over 2012-13.
  • The province’s prudent fiscal management has put BC in a good financial position and should deliver benefits in the coming years. The government is on track to readily attain its target of balancing the budget in 2013-14. From a comparative vantage point, BC has relatively low taxes, a top notch credit rating and a soon-to-be-balanced budget.

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