B.C. Business Matters:
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.
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.