Business in Vancouver: Outlook 2020: Spending, services to drive B.C. growth

January 9, 2020
Colin Wong


After downgrading its 2019 outlook for B.C.’s economy three times, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) expects real GDP growth of 2.2% in 2020, up from 1.8% in 2019.

“The challenges we have as an economy cannot be understated,” said Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the BCBC.

He said challenges in B.C. include threats to trade and exports, a cumbersome regulatory environment, a high business tax burden and the prediction of a “significant” drop in housing starts.

Many of them will affect employment, which in turn has implications for employer operations and household spending.

“On Vancouver Island, we could see by January-February as many as 14,000 people out of work in that [forestry] sector alone,” he said.

The BCBC expects the rate of employment growth in 2020 will be less than half of what it was in 2019: that’s 1.2% this year, compared with an estimated 2.5% last year. The council also expects B.C.’s unemployment rate to climb to 4.9%.

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