BC Business Matters:
No Surprise: The Residential Real Estate Complex a Big Economic Engine in BC
Real estate sales have been running at record levels across the lower mainland, and home prices are surging. In response to elevated demand, new home construction has jumped to its highest level since the early 1990s. Renovation spending has also been strong. Casual observation and “water cooler chatter” speak to widespread media and public interest in real estate generally -- and housing prices in particular. In this setting, it will not come as a surprise that the data tracking economic output by sector confirms that real estate-related activity has become a critical factor underpinning economic growth in the province.
The International Energy Agency on Canada
Every year the International Energy Agency reviews the energy sectors of five OECD countries. The second report for Canada, Energy Policies of IEA Countries Canada 2015 Review, was recently published, drawing on data up to 2013. Overall, the IEA’s analysis provides a valuable summary of the history, context, opportunities and challenges around energy production and use in Canada, including the impacts of changing global oil prices.
Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Automation and the Future of Jobs
The way we work is changing. Many traditional jobs that developed over the last century are at high risk of being automated within the next 10 to 20 years. Some recent research suggests nearly 42% of the Canadian labour force may be affected in this way by 2035. The same percentage, 42%, also applies to the proportion of “tasks” performed today by paid employees that could be automated using existing technologies.
Is BC Really a Laggard on Climate Change?
In recent months, a number of groups have been advancing the message that BC is falling behind other jurisdictions in adopting policies to address climate change.
We find the claim deeply misleading.
On any reasonable assessment, BC remains a North American pacesetter on a number of important aspects of climate policy, with industry and government continuously improving policies and operational efficiencies through the availability of new innovations.
Immigration and Economic Growth
The influx of new immigrants (+86,216) was the primary driver of population growth in the first quarter of 2016. Syrian refugees comprised a large proportion of the incoming immigrant flow. Notably, Canada has never before admitted as many immigrants within a single quarter.
Linking the Education System with the Changing Nature of Work
The Canadian education system is struggling to keep up-to-date with a dynamic and unsettled economic landscape and the prospect of disruptive transformations in the job market.
The Importance of Raising Narwhals
Canada’s lacklustre ability to produce high-growth firms is concerning. This should be a foremost concern for policymakers, especially in light of recent gains in access to capital.
Millennial Musings: A Policy Response to an Aging Population
While increased life expectancy is a positive development, it inevitably translates into additional strain on health and social service budgets. As the number of retirees increase, there will be fewer working-age taxpayers to provide the government revenues needed to pay for services. On top of this, a shrinking natural birthrate is also contributing to a more slowly-growing labour force.
BC Tops the Provinces in Economic Growth in 2015
Bolstered by the lower dollar, inward migration, and a hot housing market, BC’s economy grew by a solid 3.0% (after adjusting for inflation) in 2015. This was the strongest expansion since 2006, although just slightly above 2014’s healthy 2.9% gain.
Investment Survey Signals Continued Weakness in Capital Spending
Statistics Canada’s just released capital expenditure survey confirms that the negative fall-out from sluggish energy and materials markets continues to take a toll on business investment across the country.
BC's Fastest Growing Industries Come from a Diverse Mix of Sectors
Amid the steep downturn in global commodity markets, the BC economy has held up surprisingly well. Two decades ago, a comparable world-wide mining/energy downturn would have meant malaise for the provincial economy. But what we see now, notwithstanding some regional challenges, is an economy that is on a solid growth footing.
A Healthy Increase in Newly Incorporated Companies in BC
Last year saw a total of 37,934 new incorporations in the British Columbia, a record high that amounted to an 8.5% increase in the number of newly incorporated businesses. This follows a similar-sized gain in 2014.
Three Quick Lessons for Driving Innovation in Canada
Many scholars and business analysts would agree that the U.S. does it right when it comes to supporting technology and innovation. Here are three key lessons from the 2016 Economic Report of the President to help improve Canada’s lacklustre performance on innovation.
Putting the BC Carbon Price in Perspective
British Columbia’s carbon price as of 2016 is the highest in North America by a wide margin, given its attributes and broad application across most of the province’s economy.
Population Growth Varies Widely Across BC
In recent years BC’s population has expanded roughly in line with national population growth. Between 2011 and 2015 the number of BC residents rose at an average annual pace of 1.0%, essentially the same as Canada. Alberta led the way, with the number of people living in that province surging at an average rate of 2.6% over the past four years. Population growth in Saskatchewan (1.5%) and Manitoba (1.2%) also outpaced BC. Population growth rates in BC and Ontario have been virtually identical.
Trends in Metro Vancouver Employment Growth by Industry Over 2001-2015
Over the last fifteen years retail/wholesale trade has consistently remained the leading industry in Metro Vancouver, measured by the number of jobs. Since 2008 health care and social assistance has added 40,500 jobs, and it continues to be the second biggest provider of employment in the region, expanding in tandem with an aging population.
Growing Forward: Cultivating Productivity in BC’s Agrifood Supply Chain
The combination of $12B in annual revenue (in 2015) from the mix of agrifood-related activities collectively represents a sizeable contribution to the provincial economy. As for employment, the entire agrifood supply chain supports more than 300,000 jobs, although the bulk of these are in the retail/wholesale and food and beverage segments of the sector.
Fast Facts on BC's Tech Sector
Tech is a good news story for BC – a story that we expect to continue. The province enjoys strengths in several different technology-based clusters – software and information and communications technologies; wireless technologies; bio-tech, life sciences and health innovation; clean/green technologies; and gaming and digital animation. Today's blog offers a few key facts about BC's Tech Sector.
Consumers Helping Drive Growth in BC
Propelled by strong spending growth, the total value of retail sales in BC surpassed the $70 billion mark in 2015. Sales at stores, malls and shops are growing at a healthy clip and are a significant factor underpinning BC’s solid overall economic performance.
Canada's Energy Future (as of 2016)
On January 27, 2016, the National Energy Board (NEB) released its forecast of Canada’s energy supply and demand. The top line conclusion is that Canada will continue to produce oil and natural gas and remain a net exporter of fossil fuels.