Northern BC Economy Not Growing At Provincial Rate

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG-TV
Northern BC Economy Not Growing At Provincial Rate

Canadian economists are saying BC will have the strongest economic growth in the country at six percent. That’s double the nation growth rate of 1.2%. But, not so fast says Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist with the Central 1 Credit Union.
“Based on other GDP data, such as the labour Force survey, which measures employment and unemployment rates, we do see a stark difference between the Lower Mainland and the North,” he says. “So, for example, the employment numbers so far for the Cariboo and the North Coast, Nechako, the North East are negative this year, compared to last year. That is to say, employment is lower. Whereas in the Lower Mainland employment numbers are up around six percent. So there is a very stark difference between economic performance in BC.”
He says population growth is pointing to the Lower Mainland and Victoria, as well. A lot of that is attributed to the “languishing” resource sector. However, he says, has signs of hope.
“The forest industry, although not shrinking, we’re seeing some growth there, the demand from the US is generally improving. so conditions in the forestry sector are reasonable.”
However, other economists point to the price of oil topping $50 per barrel for the first time since June and a Conference Board of Canada report that pegs growth in Prince George, specifically, at 2.6%.

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