B.C. Economy Expected to Take Off

resources | BCBusiness
Mining is expected to benefit from the opening of new mines and from an uptick in commodity prices

Here’s something to look forward to as the New Year approaches: B.C.’s economy is set to take off in 2014 and outpace all other provinces in 2015, according to a new economic forecast

The Conference Board of Canada predicts B.C.s gross domestic product (GDP) will increase 2.7 per cent next year, faster than the national forecast of 2.3 per cent, driven primarily by growth in the dominant resources sector.
An increase in forestry, mining and natural gas activity will also propel economic growth in B.C. by another 3.1 per cent in 2015, the report predicts, more than any other province that year, and beyond the anticipated 2.6-per-cent growth forecast for Canada as a whole.
In 2015, B.C. will overtake Alberta in economic growth; that province has been an economic juggernaut thanks to its booming oil sands industry. Alberta has been the largest contributor to economic growth in Canada for three years running, at rate of above three per cent.
B.C.’s forecast comes after two years of sluggish growth below two per cent, including 1.5 per cent so far in 2013, and no meaningful gains in overall employment levels.
“Better times are ahead for B.C.,” says Marie-Christine Bernard, an associate director at the Conference Board.
Forestry will see gains due to increased demand for wood from the steadily recovering U.S. housing market, the Conference Board predicts. According to the report’s outlook, mining will pick up from the opening of news mines across the province and an expected uptick in certain commodity prices, some of which have fallen from record highs reached in 2011, in particular B.C.-produced products such as copper and coal.
Mining and forestry, as well as continued investment in the liquefied natural gas sector in the northern part of the province, will help to spur overall job creation across B.C., says Bernard.
She also points to long-term employment being created by the multi-billion dollar shipbuilding contracts awarded to Vancouver-based Seaspan.
Together, these industries will help create more work in other sectors such as manufacturing and the service sectors.
“Prospects are bright for British Columbia’s resource sector thanks to an improving external environment, and the province should see solid gains in exports over the near term,” says the report. It adds that weak job growth held back the economy in 2013, “but that shouldn’t be the case over the next two years as a strengthening economy helps businesses expand their payrolls.”