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BC Poised for Small Bounce in Economic Growth in 2013

In the latest BC Economic Review and Outlook, the Business Council of British Columbia upgrades our economic growth forecast for 2013 to 2.3%, projecting a stronger year than 2012 which is estimated to have grown at 1.9%.

Although the economy slowed in the latter part of 2012, we anticipate the provincial economy will gain some momentum in 2013 with positive economic growth projected for our major export markets including China and the United States and strong non-residential construction anticipated in British Columbia.

Report Highlights include:

  • While uncertainty about US fiscal policy continues to hurt both business and consumer confidence, the recovery in housing markets, healthy corporate balance sheets, and perkier job creation are all positive factors for 2013. The slow buststeady rebound in US housing starts is translating into stronger lumber prices and should help to lift BC’s exports over 2013.
  • Although there have been improvements in Europe since mid-2012, there remains concerns about the region’s debt crisis and undercapitalized banking system, as well as the huge gaps in national economic performance and competitiveness that exists within the Eurozone.
  • Job growth across BC industries has been uneven. While gains were recorded ni manufacturing and primary resource industrieslast year, the number of people working in construction declined (reflecting weaker residential investment). Employment was flat in the retail and wholesale trade segments, and it fell in the broad professional services category.
  • Non-residential construction is the main area of economic strength in BC. Resource industry projects, new infrastructure development, expansions of some existing infrastructure assets, and a stepped up pace of commercial development in some urban areas are all supporting high levels of non-residential construction activity which has returned to 2006-07 levels.