In BC in January, the housing market warmed up again, with sales rising while new listings and starts fell. Sales rose in all areas of the province from December. Rental costs in Vancouver and Victoria remain broadly elevated relative to most other points since the onset of the pandemic.
Retail sales declined in December in BC with the arrival of the Omicron variant but remain 11 per cent above February 2020 levels. As of January, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are at roughly 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. Compared to Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver restaurants avoided lockdowns during the month of January. In BC, Google’s measure of movement trends is currently about 16 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
Although aggregate employment has recovered in BC to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector was about 15 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in January. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 8 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels. Manufacturing and imports edged up in December, while exports declined slightly. Business confidence declined slightly in January, while consumer confidence drifted sideways. The number of US and non-US tourists has been rising each month since restrictions were eased last summer, reaching about 45 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in November.
For a more comprehensive overview of BC's economic recovery, click here.
For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.