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B.C.'s Manufacturing Sector is Growing...But Faces Competitiveness Challenges

Manufacturing is a growth story for the B.C. economy over the last 10 years and is punching above its weight in terms of our export portfolio, generating new income for the provincial economy. The latest Policy Perspectives details economic facts, figures and trends, as well as sectoral breakdowns and cross provincial comparisons, relevant to BC’s $50 billion resource and non-resource manufacturing activities. It also provides some cautionary advice relative to key competitive headwinds facing this element of our economy - which makes up 7% of provincial GDP and over 170,000 jobs.


  • B.C.’s manufacturing sector is diverse and expanding — except for P.E.I., B.C. has seen the strongest growth in manufacturing sales of any province over the past five years.
  • B.C. manufacturing sales receipts surpassed the $50 billion milestone last year.
  • Both the resource-based elements of the sector and non-resource manufacturing have grown.
  • In contrast to many other jurisdictions in North America, the number of people employed in manufacturing in B.C. has increased over the past five years.
  • Wood products remains the largest manufacturing industry in the province and the backbone of many regional economies. Paper manufacturing is the third largest manufacturing industry measured by the value of sales. 
  • Over the past decade, collectively non-resource manufacturing has grown more quickly than resource-based manufacturing such that the value of the former’s sales is now larger.
  • Although B.C. has a reasonably positive manufacturing story, there are growing headwinds that are making the province less competitive as a place to invest.

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FEEDBACK:  We woud like to hear from manufacturing owners, executives and operators about the challenges and opportunities within your sector. We hope to hear from a broad range of manufacturers across the province about the top three or four issues weighing on competitiveness as well as the medium-term outlook for your sector.

Please send any comments to with the subject line Manufacturing Feedback.