In BC in December, sales, new listings, and housing starts all declined somewhat from November. While sales rose slightly in the lower mainland, declines in all other regions of the province caused a decline overall. Rental rates in Victoria and Vancouver remain elevated relative to pre-pandemic levels amid generally high consumer price appreciation.
Retail sales rose in November in BC to a fresh record, with sales 12 per cent above February of 2020 prior to the onset of the pandemic. As of January, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are at roughly 50 per cent of the pre-pandemic level, dropping by roughly a third since December due to Omicron. By contrast, Toronto is about 95 per cent below the prior year's restaurant activity due to fresh restrictions. Google's measure of movement trends is currently about 22 per cent below pre-pandemic levels in BC.
Although aggregate employment has recovered in BC to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector was about 14 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in December. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 7 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels. Manufacturing in BC remained constant from last month, as with exports and imports. Business confidence stayed flat in December, while consumer confidence drifted downwards. 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.