BC Business Matters:
Commodity Price Slump is Weighing on the Canadian and the Global Economies
The ongoing decline in the US-dollar prices of most internationally traded commodity products has hit the Canadian economy hard, depressing incomes, triggering layoffs and capital spending cutbacks by hundreds of resource companies (and their suppliers), and hurting business and consumer confidence across much of the country.
Net In-migration to BC Picks Up in Q3…While Alberta Goes the Other Way
Migration across Canada tends to exhibit strong seasonal patterns, so to compare the movement of people over time the data can be seasonally adjusted or one can simply compare the third quarter data to third quarter flows from past years. Looking just at the 2015 third quarter data highlights the most recent increase, with BC gaining a net inflow of 6,315 people from other provinces. In comparison, in the third quarter of 2014 BC recorded a gain of about 3,600 interprovincial; back in 2013 we added 1,800.
10 things to watch for in 2016
Last December, we compiled a list of ten things to watch for in 2015, with a focus on those expected to impact the provincial economy. This year we are again compiling a list of trends and developments we believe will shape the BC economy in 2016.
Preliminary Comments on the New BC Labour Market Outlook
The BC government recently published new projections for labour demand and supply encompassing the next ten years. Overall, the new labour market outlook is an improvement over earlier efforts. It is based on more rigorous modelling and reflects extensive engagement with employers and other stakeholders who were consulted in the course of developing the detailed projections.
BC Consumers Are Out Spending
Retail spending in BC continues to grow at a healthy pace. Just released data from Statistics Canada shows retail sales in September were up 6.0% over the same month last year. This is the strongest annual gain among the provinces and stands in sharp contrast to Alberta’s 5.6% drop in retail spending.
Alberta Announces a New Approach to Managing Greenhouse Gases
Our high level summary of the Alberta government’s just announced framework for addressing greenhouse gas emissions.
An Updated Look at the Future of Energy
Ahead of the climate change conference in Paris next month, the International Energy Agency has just released the World Energy Outlook 2015. The data, projections and analysis in this well regarded annual publication provide an excellent foundation to ponder the future of global energy supply and demand.
The Myth and Reality of a Clean Economy and Jobs
Clean Energy Canada (CEC) recently released a report which purports to show the BC economy will continue to thrive if the province’s carbon tax is steadily ramped up and a long list of additional regulations and other measures are introduced to further reduce carbon emissions in the province.
BC Job Market is Almost Certainly Stronger than Labour Force Survey Suggests
It has been somewhat challenging making sense of BC’s job market over the past couple of years. So far in 2015, Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows overall job growth in the province running at a modest 0.8%, based on year-to-date data through September. Looking just at payroll employment (that is, taking self-employment out of the total job count), the number of employees is up by meagre 0.2% year-to-date, according to the LFS. The difficulty is that this puny increase in the number of employees is not consistent with other economic indicators for BC, such as strong gains in retail spending, a buoyant housing market, and a busy construction sector.
October 9 - In the News this Week: Five business and economic stories affecting BC
BCBC recaps the weekly business and economic news stories from the week ending October 9 relevant to British Columbia's economy.
Growth in the Economy = Women
Women make up half of the world’s population. Looking ahead, this means half of the potential global labour force consists of women. Potential is the key word. There are many barriers to full labour force participation by women, notably in emerging economies, but also to some extent in the advanced economies too. But suppose parity is possible. It could add a total of between $12 trillion and $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Over a 10 year period beginning in 2015, this would be equal to between $1.2 trillion and $2.8 trillion per year. Importantly, this “extra” economic growth would be on top of baseline forecast growth rates, which have been rather subdued of late.
Is the Price Right? A Comparison of Carbon Pricing
There is no real mystery to understanding what a carbon tax is – an amount deemed to be the value, or cost, of a tonne of carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of burning fossil fuel. In BC, policy makers have decided that the cost is CDN$30/tonne carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which is then translated into an amount per unit of fuel. The tax is applied broadly to all fossil fuel combustion in the province and, in practice, covers a large majority of the fossil fuels consumed by businesses and households.
BC Net Interprovincial Migration Trending Higher
In the second quarter of2015 BC saw a net inflow of nearly 4,000 people moving here from other Canada jurisdictions. While this figure is down from the 5000+ net inflow in Q2 of 2014, it is up significantly from the 2012-2013 era.
September 25 - In the News This Week: Five Business and Economic Stories Affecting BC
BCBC recaps the weekly business and economic news stories from the week ending September 25 relevant to British Columbia's economy.
PART TWO: Municipal Tax Burden Varies Widely Across Smaller BC Communities
This is the second blog documenting the level and growth of municipal property taxes in BC, using data compiled and reported by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. The first blog examined property taxes for larger municipalities with populations in excess of 10,000. This follow up piece looks at the level and growth of per capita taxes for municipalities with populations between 2,000 and 10,000.
September 18 - In the News This Week: Five Business and Economic Stories Affecting BC
BCBC recaps the weekly business and economic news stories from the week ending September 18 relevant to British Columbia's economy.
Labour Market Conditions Ease in the Prairie Provinces But Tighten in BC
Labour market conditions in Western Canada have changed significantly in the past year or so. Amid the dramatic fall in oil prices and generally soft prices for many other key commodities, the ranks of the unemployed have increased in all three Prairie Provinces in recent quarters. Consistent with a rise in unemployment, the number of job vacancies in each of the three Prairie provinces has dwindled. In BC, however, these labour market metrics have been the reverse: the number of unemployed has remained stable or edged down while job vacancies have climbed.
September 4 - In the news this week: Five Business and Economic Stories Affecting BC
BCBC recaps the weekly business and economic news stories from the week ending September 4 relevant to British Columbia's economy.
Imagining a “Post-Inflation” World
Across most of the leading advanced economies, inflation is running well below the rates targeted by central banks. In the United States, the principal inflation measure tracked by the Federal Reserve sits at barely 1%, despite an expanding economy and a rapidly tightening labour market. In Japan and the Eurozone, central banks have set policy interest rates at zero and are aggressively pumping money into the economy to avoid deflation – defined as a generalized drop in the price level. In both the UK and Canada, the short-term policy interest rates directly controlled by central banks remain near all-time lows.
PART ONE: Municipal Tax Burden Varies Widely in BC and Continues to Outpace Inflation
The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development compiles data on local government finances, including figures on per capita levels of property tax. What is discussed below and shown in the graphs is the total amount of tax levied on all nine property classes, as defined in provincial legislation. This provides a gauge of the overall tax burden in each municipality, with the per capita data allowing comparisons to be made across municipalities of different sizes. To make such comparisons more meaningful, the figures below show per capita taxes just for municipalities with populations that exceed 10,000. Taxation in smaller municipalities will be discussed in subsequent blog posts. The first figure shows the 2015 per capita levels of property taxes for BC’s larger municipalities. The additional numbers on the right side of the chart are the average annual growth rates of per capita taxes in each municipality over the past three years, and are included in the graph for quick reference.